Last week we set out to see if social buzz could successfully predict who would take home an Academy Award. After tracking the Oscar nominees in the uberVU via HootSuite platform, we compared metrics like sentiment, exposure and how many times mentions of each nominee was Retweeted, Liked or Shared to see who social predicted to win in some of the most popular categories: writing, acting, directing, and overall film awards. We also took a closer look into mentions by using uberVU’s conversation maps to find hot topics being discussed in relation to each nominee.

So how did social fare? Of the 10 categories we featured, social buzz correctly predicted 7 winners. (Next year, we’re taking this straight to Vegas). But what exactly forecasted Oscar gold? To find out, we took a deep dive into the social metrics to determine which was most accurate in predicting a winner.

Key Metrics

Best Predictors: Sentiment and Exposure

The awards didn’t necessarily go to the nominees with the most mentions. If a nominee had a higher sentiment score than the nominees on top, it was more likely to go home a winner. Exposure was also a strong indicator. A high majority of the real life winners blew away their competition in impressions.

Least Telling: Engagement

RTs, Likes and Shares are extremely important to social media marketers and are often used to showcase brand success. But surprisingly, engagement metrics did not have a strong correlation to Academy Awards winners. In most matchups, when mentions and sentiment were too close to call we used engagement to break the tie, but it turns out that tie breaker was not a strong indicator of Oscar gold.

Let’s Break Down Social’s Predictions

Adapted Screenplay

Social’s Winner: 12 Years a Slave
And the Oscar went to: 12 Years a Slave

Social was correct!

12 Years a Slave brought in the most mentions, RTs, Likes, Shares and had the highest exposure (43x as many impressions as the closest competitor!). Captain Phillips had the highest sentiment with 79% positivity, but 12 Years a Slave wasn’t far off with 77%. On Oscar Sunday, 12 Years a Slave still had the most mentions and the highest exposure.

Adapted Screenplay - uberVU

Original Screenplay

Social’s Winner: Her
Social’s Winner: Her

Social was correct!

Her brought in the most mentions and impressions, along with a high sentiment score (70% positive, only 4% lower than the leader, American Hustle) Plus, “win” was a hot topic for the film, accounting for 11% of the conversation—the highest percentage of all films in the category.

Actor in a Supporting Role

Social’s Winner: Jared Leto
And the Oscar went to: Jared Leto

Social was correct!

Jared Leto dominated in mentions with three times as many as the closest competitor. He also brought in more RTs, Likes, Shares and had the highest exposure.

Actress in a Supporting Role

Social’s Winner: Lupita Nyong’o
And the Oscar went to: Lupita Nyong’o

Social was correct!

Sentiment was the most important metric in this category. Lupita Nyong’o brought in 13,000 fewer mentions than Jennifer Lawrence but she had the highest sentiment score with 57% positivity. Compared to Lawrence’s 29% negativity, it was easy to predict Nyong’o as the winner.

Actor in a Leading Role

Social’s Winner: Matthew McConaughey
And the Oscar went to: Matthew McConaughey

Social was correct!

Leonardo DiCaprio may have brought in the most mentions, but McConaughey had the higher percentage of positive mentions—48% compared to DiCaprio 38%. The strongest indicator McConaughey would go home with an Oscar is that his name appeared on every nominee’s conversation map, clearly showing he was top-of-mind when discussing the Best Actor race.

On Oscar Sunday, Leonardo DiCaprio still brought in almost four times as many mentions as McConaughey, this time with 20% negativity. Social was clearly upset Leonardo did not win his first Oscar—”DiCaprio deserves”, “deserves”, “finally” and “win an Oscar” all ranked on the actor’s conversation map.

Best Actor - uberVU conversation map

Actress in a Leading Role

Social’s Winner: Cate Blanchett
And the Oscar went to: Cate Blanchett

Social was correct!

Cate Blanchett barely edged out Sandra Bullock in mentions, but almost doubled Bullock’s impressions. She also had the highest percentage of positive mentions and beat out Bullock in Likes and Shares.

Best Director

Social’s Winner: Steve McQueen
And the Oscar went to: Alfonso Cuarón

Social was not correct

Alfonso Cuarón squeaked by Steve McQueen in mentions, but posted a lower sentiment score. McQueen looked poised to win, bringing in far more RTs, Likes and Shares, but Cuarón did top him in impressions. The matchup was the same on Oscar Sunday with Alfonso Cuarón again bringing in more mentions, but a lower sentiment score. Plus, McQueen still won in Likes and Shares.

Director - uberVU

Best Documentary Feature

Social’s Winner: The Act Of Killing
And the Oscar went to: 20 Feet From Stardom

Social was not correct

20 Feet From Stardom was third in mentions, but had the highest sentiment with 55% positivity. The film was far behind in engagement metrics and exposure, but had “win” and “great” appear on its conversation map. It’s clear positive mentions are a better indicator than the sheer amount of mentions. Despite not winning, The Square and The Act Of Killing still brought in more mentions than 20 Feet From Stardom on March 2.

Best Documentary - uberVU

Animated Feature Film

Social’s Winner: Frozen
And the Oscar went to: Frozen

Social was correct!

Frozen blew away the competition in all metric categories and had a high sentiment score with 73% positivity. Plus, the number one phrase on its conversation map? “Win”

Best Picture

Social’s Winner: Gravity
And the Oscar went to: 12 Years a Slave

Social was not correct

Gravity won in mentions, RTs, Likes, Shares and Exposure but 12 Years a Slave was close behind with a higher sentiment score. Despite not winning the Oscar, Gravity brought in almost double the mentions of 12 Years a Slave on Sunday.

Best Picture - uberVU

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