If Social Media decided the Oscars – Week 1

Ben Johnson on 7 February 2014

Over the next four weeks we’re predicting the outcome of the Oscars for Best Picture and Best Foreign Film if the voting was run off the activity on Facebook and Twitter. The Oscars is industry event, so nominations come from behind closed doors. This experiment is designed to see how on or off the mark social sentiment is for such a huge global cultural event. We will also be tracking how this awareness and sentiment changes over the coming weeks leading up to the campaign to see if last minute marketing campaigns exert any influence.

We also fancied a gamble, so we have decided to put some money behind our analysis come oscar night. Our study includes the betting odds from William Hill  and analysis of the reach on Facebook and Twitter. We have included a methodology should anyone wish to test this at the base of the post.

To see the analysis click on this link to open a google doc spread sheet:

Social media nominations for BEST PICTURE:

When comparing the social media awareness of the nominees, The Wolf of Wall Street leads the way with 42.7 million conversations across Facebook and Twitter, with American Hustle slightly behind at 34.6 million. While The Wolf of Wall Street has the most extensive Facebook campaign, American Hustle leads the way on Twitter with an advantage of nearly one million extra Tweets over its rival The Wolf of Wall Street. This would suggest two obvious front-runners for the coveted Social-Media-Oscar for Best Picture, however, things change when Twitter Sentiment Scores are brought into the equation. Captain Phillips and the Dallas Buyers Club lead the way with scores of 87 and 86 respectively. This puts them ahead of American Hustle at 83, and well ahead of controversial The Wolf of Wall Street at 73. Subsequently, while there may be less awareness and conversation surrounding Captain Phillips compared to The Wolf of Wall Street, the feelings among those having these conversations is markedly more positive. Taking everything into account, our favourite at the end of week one for Best Picture is American Hustle, followed closely by The Wolf of Wall Street. This puts us ‘at odds’ with the bookies who rank 12 Years a Slave as the favourite. We also rank The Dallas Buyers Club highly, despite its impossible odds of 100/1.

Best Film Ranking against odds from William Hill
1. American Hustle (7/1)
2. The Wolf of Wall Street (66/1)
3. 12 Years a Slave (4/11) [Bookies favourite]
4. Dallas Buyers Club (100/1)
5. Gravity (5/2)
6. Captain Phillips (100/1)
7. Her (100/1)
8. Philomena (100/1)
9. Nebraska (100/1)

Social media  nominations for BEST FOREIGN FILM:

The frontrunner for Best Foreign Picture on Facebook, with a potential reach of more than 1,100,000 people, is the Italian submission The Great Beauty, with Vinterberg’s The Hunt as runner-up with a potential reach of 320,000 people. The Cambodian-French The Missing Picture is literally the missing picture on Facebook (sorry, this was just too tempting), with a reach so small that Facebook won’t return an actual number. But on Twitter, The Missing Picture actually comes in second with more than 23,000 tweets about the film in the last 30 days, although to poor sentiment ratings. The Great Beauty rules Twitter with more than 36,000 tweets and a fantastic sentiment score of 95. The Hunt comes in third, with 10,000 tweets about the Danish submission in the last 30 days, and a sentiment score of 53.

3 weeks before the Oscars, The Great Beauty is the clear winner of our audience award, coming in first on Facebook as well as Twitter, and with great sentiment scores. It is followed by The Hunt, which secured a second place on Facebook and comes in third on Twitter. Our ranking exactly mirrors William Hill’s ranking of The Great Beauty most likely winner and The Hunt as runner-up:

Best Foreign Film Ranking against odds from William Hill
1. The Great Beauty (8/15) [Bookies favourite]
2. The Hunt (7/4)  
3. The Broken Circle Breakdown (7/1)
4. Omar (16/1)
5. The Missing Picture (33/1)


The nominations are

Best Picture:

  • American Hustle
  • Captain Phillips
  • Dallas Buyers Club
  • Gravity
  • Her
  • Nebraska
  • Philomena
  • 12 Years a Slave
  • The Wolf of Wall Street

Best Foreign Language Film

  • The Broken Circle Breakdown (Belgium)
  • The Great Beauty (Italy)
  • The Hunt (Denmark)
  • The Missing Picture (Cambodia)
  • Omar (Palestine)

For each nomination the films were broken down into the following segmentation of keywords

  • Title – e.g. American Hustle
  • Main Actors – e.g. Christian Bale, Jennifer Lawrence, etc
  • Director – e.g. David Russel

These keywords were then entered into Facebook ad platform and and Topsy‘s Twitter analysis tool to develop an understanding on the level of conversation and engagements that are going on currently around these keywords.


Using Facebook’s ad platform – we set up a dummy ad campaign set to the following parameters:

  • Country USA (Global numbers were used for Best foreign film)
  • Age – 13 to 65+
  • Male and Female
  • Interests – Actors names, movie title, directors name

This established the ‘estimated reach‘ for each term and the combined total reach for the campaign.



We used a neat tool called Topsy, to  get a sentiment score and the number of tweets on each films keywords (see above). For example, we searched for appropriate title or artist eg. American Hustle, selected the ‘Past 30 Days option’ and recorded the total number of tweets and the sentiment score.


About Gruvi

Hello and welcome to Gruvi! We’re a fast growing social technology company that is helping global entertainment brands tackle the rising challenges and opportunities of online, social and mobile marketing. We do this by providing campaign management systems that scale internationally while promoting and tracking the sales of their content. Our clients include Walt Disney, Warner Bros, Sony Pictures, Bskyb and many small to medium sized film distribution companies around the world.


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