There’s a miniscule but loud group of conspiracy obsessives who believe in a mythical “formula” for producing a film that can guarantee Oscar nominations. Now Time has given that fringe theory more precision with its Random Oscar Winner Generator. It takes 12,020 IMDB keywords from 242 Best Picture nominees and runs them through an algorithm that spits out a Frankenstein's monster of gangster films, period dramas, stirring romance, and films about overcoming extreme obstacles. You can even scroll over key terms to see which nominated films contributed to the new elevator pitch. From those tags, a few trends emerge: Doctors are the most popular profession in nominated films; the 1940’s is the most-nominated decade, and—shock of all shocks—New York City is the most common setting for a nominated film.
The nominee Mad Libs aren’t entirely foolproof, though. Sometimes, the machine will place a character in17th century Washington, D.C. or put World War II veteran in the year 1920. Still, most of the combinations make sense. The feature has been updated with all of the 2014 Best Picture nominees, so take a chance at randomly pulling together the basic pitch for a spec script with maximum Oscar bait.
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