Following the announcement on 23-Jan-2024 of the nominees for this year’s Academy Awards, we analyse the online prominence and sentiment of the contenders for Best Picture, to see if it may yield any insights into where the prize may go.
We apply the same methodology as applied to our recent study of the top 100 global brands, using generic queries (‘movie’, ‘film’ and ‘picture’, in conjunction with terms such as ‘best’, ‘popular’ and ‘favorite’ [sic – targeting US-centric content], and phrases such as ‘Oscars 2024’) to bring back relevant pages for analysis. The dataset thus generated consisted of around 1,500 distinct, highly-ranked pages from Google (with searches and analysis carried out on 24-Jan-2024).
The findings are shown in Figures 1 and 2.
Figure 1: Online prominence scores for the titles of the ten nominees for the Best Picture award, within the dataset of movie-related webpages
Figure 2: Online sentiment scores for the titles of the ten nominees for the Best Picture award, within the dataset of movie-related webpages
It is striking that – at least in the set of results most highly ranked by the search engine on the day after the announcement – Barbie and Oppenheimer show by far the highest degree of online prominence, with little difference between their scores. Oppenheimer also features as the most positively-referenced brand, though it is notable that Barbie’s sentiment score is low.
These trends are perhaps not surprising; Oppenheimer has been widely talked about as the most highly nominated movie overall. Much of the apparent negativity surrounding Barbie may be in relation to the language used in relation to reports of the lack of nominations for director Greta Gerwig and lead actress Margot Robbie; three of the top five most negatively scored pages feature headlines where the word ‘snub’ is used alongside ‘Barbie’. There may also, of course, be some unfavourable comments about the film itself, though even some of the identified content which is broadly positive does reference the title in conjunction with negative keywords: “Any description of Barbie’s big themes (toxic masculinity)…”, “Perky, playful, and deceptively caustic, Barbie is one of just a few films…”.
It is also noteworthy that these two films continue to dominate the online landscape, following the enormous amount of buzz following their simultaneous launch in July 2023. This was associated with a massive spike in online infringements relating to both titles, and to their joint neologism, ‘Barbenheimer’ (Figure 3), as is often the case for brands of all types when their online prominence spikes.
Figure 3: Growth in numbers of registered domains with names containing ‘barbie’, ‘oppenheimer’ and ‘barbenheimer’ (from Jan to Jul 2023), compared with the launch dates of the films (dotted line)
Overall, it will be interesting to see whether any predictions from the data on the relative prominence and sentiment of the nominee titles will be borne out when the awards are presented on 10th March…