As awards season continues with the upcoming Academy Awards later this month, there’s a lot of buzz on social media about the nominees – and who might emerge victorious. But what if that buzz really decided the outcome? Who would win if it were up to social users today?

We used our Instant Search tool to see how social audiences were feeling in the lead-up to the February 26 broadcast. Here’s what we discovered:

Excitement is building

Searching on the terms “#Oscars, Oscars and Academy Awards” reveals a lot of conversation, but not much passion in the last month. Posts are in the millions, impressions in the billions, but Net Sentiment – whether social users’ emotions are positive or negative on a scale from -100 to +100 – averages out at 12%, thanks to a major dip at the end of January:


The peak associated with the highest post volume, 1/24/17, was the date the nominations were announced, so it’s not surprising there was a lot of chatter that day. The top posts were cheering on Viola Davis with her history-making 3rd nomination, while some disagreed with Casey Affleck’s nomination:


Meanwhile, what caused sentiment to dip so much on 1/29? President Trump’s immigration ban, which might interfere with the ability of nominated Iranian director, Asghar Farhadi, to attend:


Most of the conversation is happening on Twitter, with Tumblr and news/blogs vying for second place. Instagram, Facebook and YouTube have some people talking, but not nearly as many:


The top hashtags and popular posts show there’s a lot being discussed – and that Hollywood and politics are, as usual, intertwined in some way:


Clicking on each hashtag in turn produces sound bites for that particular hashtag, to give you even more information on which particular terms are powering what types of conversation.

And you can review additional metrics like Top Authors (The New York Times), Top Locations (The United States, New York in particular), and gender and age. The split is nearly even with 51% of women chiming in, and 49% of men. The largest segment is women ages 25-34, and the smallest men aged 65+.

How do things change when we look at the last week? Well, Net Sentiment increases to an average of 55%, with a high of 85%:


Even with a bit of a fall from February 11 through 14 – as viewers were distracted by things like chatter surrounding #TheFlakies, the Grammy’s, and Valentine’s Day – sentiment overall is holding in the high 70’s to mid-80’s.

Having these insights so readily available is a marketer’s dream – especially when you need reliable data to power trend-inspired campaigns.

The Oscars happen annually, but historical data can only take you so far with a show that is entirely different from year to year. With nominations announced on January 24 and the show airing February 26, there isn’t a lot of time to prep if you want to leverage the Oscars in your marketing campaigns, and you can see how much the data changes between the snapshots of one month ago, and one week ago.

It’s crucial to have a reliable real-time tool to gather accurate insights and inspiration. But you want it to be simple too – and Instant Search is that.

To get a better sense of how this tool works, let’s look beyond the general topic and find out who would take home the gold statues in a few popular categories if it were up to the social public today.

Best Picture

Searching on “Oscars, Academy Awards, Best Picture” we see there are two films vying for top of the list – Moonlight and La La Land:

best picture

If we want to name a definitive winner, we have to look at sentiment for each movie. Performing another search on “Best Picture, La La Land” we see sentiment of 81%. Searching on “Best Picture, Moonlight” reveals the same – social users are in a stalemate. Without a clear tie-breaker, we could justify giving it to the next film generating the most conversation, Hidden Figures.

Actor in a Leading Role

Searching simply on “best actor” reveals a 3-way tie between Denzel Washington, Ryan Gosling and Casey Affleck. However, the high engagement on Manchester By the Sea’s Facebook post announcing Affleck’s BAFTA win tips the scales in his direction. Affleck wins this round.

best actor

Actress in a Leading Role

With a simple search on the term “best actress” things get interesting. Fences’ Viola Davis has the most buzz according to the Top Hashtags – but Davis isn’t nominated for Actress in a Leading Role, she’s nominated for Actress in a Supporting Role.

best actress

Emma Stone takes the win here, but it’s worth looking into the discussion around Davis – just as it’s always worth looking beyond your own brand/topics to understand what else is happening in the social realm.

Clicking on the prominent term #imageawards solves the mystery: Davis won a Best Actress award at the NAACP Image Awards on February 12.

viola davis

Actor in a Supporting Role

Much like with Casey Affleck above, searching on “best actor” brings a little other-award confusion into the mix. Lion’s Dev Patel is being lauded for his win at the BAFTA awards, but does that mean he’ll take the Oscar too?

Refining the search to “Oscars, Actor in a Supporting Role” shows there’s a lot of conversation bleeding in about the Actor in a Leading Role nominees – specifically Ryan Gosling, Denzel Washington, and Andrew Garfield. The only actor making the cut from the Actor in a Supporting Role category is Patel. Win!

supporting actor

Actress in a Supporting Role

Since we’ve seen the crossover between the BAFTA and NAACP Image Awards, we’ll keep the search more specific here with “Oscars, Actress in a Supporting Role.” The winner is still clearly Viola Davis. And the sound bites bear it out:


viola sound bites

I’d like to thank the Academy…

Obviously, this is all in good fun – and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences isn’t using social media to determine the winners of its annual awards. But as we’ve seen in past years, social opinion and sentiment still matters – even with a brand like the Oscars.

And the reality is, though social media may not decide the outcome of the Oscars, it can decide the outcome of your brand’s efforts. Consumers vote for and against brands every day on social. If you’re not paying attention, you can lose your audience quickly. Using a tool like Instant Search gives you a sense of what social audiences currently care about.

But that’s not necessarily the end all be all. With make or break brand issues it’s important to look deeper using other social media listening tools – to accurately pinpoint sentiment within specific audience segments, and be sure you understand what your next steps should be.

When it comes to keeping track of swiftly-changing trends, however, Instant Search is the perfect, simple and fast tool to apply. Especially when you’re looking to join in on time-sensitive conversations, or find inspiration for campaigns in the short term.

As for our Oscar predictions… how will they play out? We’ll find out after the broadcast airs – and report back.

In the meantime, get in touch for a one-on-one demo of Instant Search and our other social monitoring tools.


Image from Alan Light


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