02/21/2013 10:31 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

The Twittersphere's Pick for Best Picture

On Sunday night, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will award the Oscar for Best Picture to recognize critical cinematic achievement and box office success.

What is social media opinion about the Best Picture nominees? In other words, which film would win the Oscar Award for Best Picture if Twitter had a vote?

While no one can predict the Academy's selection, social media analysis of tweets about the Best Picture nominees during Oscar season sheds light on the outcome desired by the audience at home, the audience that will also experience the Oscars on the "second screen" of Twitter. The scale of conversation about each film and the Twitter users' judgment about merits and shortcomings of the films just may give us a hint about the outcome on Sunday night.


Zero Dark Thirty and Argo lead the pack in number of tweets about Best Picture nominees during Oscar season. Zero Dark Thirty clocked more than half a million tweets and Argo inspired more than 400,000 tweets in just over a month. The next Best Picture by Twitter volume is Django Unchained, which generated just over 250,000 tweets.

While critically acclaimed, Lincoln and Les Miserables motivated fewer tweets. The number of tweets about Lincoln is similar to the volume about Silver Linings Playbook.

Life of Pi and Amour are more niche topics of conversation on Twitter, with only about 30,000 tweets about each of these films during Oscar season.

Social Media Opinion Analysis: Zero Dark Thirty and Argo

Zero Dark Thirty and Argo are the most-tweeted Best Picture nominees, but what are people saying on Twitter about these films during Oscar season? Using Crimson Hexagon's ForSight social media analytics platform, I categorized a small set of tweets and Crimson Hexagon's patented aggregate opinion analysis algorithm classified the proportions of conversation in each category.

zero dark thirty opinion

The majority of conversation about Zero Dark Thirty lauds the film. Positive audience reviews of the film represents 15 percent of the overall conversation, and praise for the depiction of real-life events in the film represents 10 percent of the overall conversation. Negative reviews, including that the film is too long and is "propaganda" for the U.S. government, only represent 12 percent of the entire conversation about Zero Dark Thirty.

argo opinion

Similarly, conversation about Argo is largely positive (42 percent). Negative comments about the movie only represent 7 percent of the conversation about Argo.

Many people tweeting in support of Argo for Best Picture see the nomination as a substitute for recognition of Ben Affleck in the Directing category. The view that Argo and Affleck deserve to win awards represents a unique and significant sector of the conversation about Argo (18 percent) during Oscar season. Numerous tweets saying that Argo is a great movie (12 percent of the conversation) also refer to Affleck's accomplishment as its director.

Even if Twitter can't predict who will win the Oscar for Best Picture, we know which films are being talked about on social media and, with the aid of Crimson Hexagon's ForSight, what audiences are saying about the nominees.

My Oscar prediction: if neither Argo nor Zero Dark Thirty win the Academy Award for Best Picture, we'll hear complaints about it on Twitter.


The author, Elizabeth Butler Breese, PhD, is a sociologist and Senior Content and Digital Marketing Strategist at Crimson Hexagon.

Best Picture Nominees graphic by Chris Collins.

EDITOR'S NOTE: This post has been updated since its original publication.