February 21, 2015
Tomorrow night, people around the world will tune in to one of the most important events in the world of film and entertainment: the 87th Annual Academy Awards. The gold standard in the industry, the Oscar is the marker of ultimate success for an actor, director, producer, writer, and anyone else working in film. While the categories at the awards range from “Best Sound Mixing” and “Best Cinematography” to “Best Supporting Actor” and “Best Animated Film,” the biggest award of the night is for “Best Picture”. While many continue to make bets on which film will win this award, it seems that the civil rights biopic Selma may end up taking it – that is, if online social engagement were accurate predictors of Academy Award winners.
According to a recently released infographic from content engagement platform AddThis, if the Internet had its way, then Selma would win outright for the award of “Best Picture”. To formulate the infographic, AddThis – which reaches over 97 percent of the online population (in the United States alone) – analyzed social activity and content data online surrounding the Academy Awards. And, looking at the presented data, if online social engagement could accurately predict winners, then indeed Selma is ahead of all other “Best Picture” Oscar nominees. Looking specifically at the month-over-month change in social buzz for each film over the past two months, Selma leads overwhelmingly with a 497 percent increase in engagement; Boyhood, the human condition drama filmed over a period of 12 years, comes in at second with a 178 percent increase in social engagement.
Predictions on Oscar winners based on social engagement of such topics are dubious, though. Especially when you consider the factors likely contributing to the high level of online engagement with Selma. While such a train of thought is logical (i.e., more discussions happening online for a certain movie could be attributed to film critics and others on the Internet praising the merits of a film, hence supporting the belief that the movie may be more likely to win), it’s flawed nonetheless. In the case of Selma, most of the social engagement surrounding the movie may stem from the overwhelming outrage of its numerous Oscar snubs. Since the Oscar nominees were announced in January, the Internet has engaged in several discussions and published several thought pieces on the lack of its nominations; while Selma was nominated for “Best Picture”, neither the movie’s actors and actresses nor its writing were nominated for awards. So, I mean, take that in mind before believing that such online engagement is actually predictive of who will win tomorrow.
AddThis also looked at other interesting data, such as which states in the U.S. talk about which “Best Picture” nominees the most, as well as broke down the various characteristics associated with the people engaging with certain films. Take a look at the full infographic below:
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