Another Hollywood award season culminated Sunday night with the biggest show of the year, the Academy Awards. From the red carpet parade of designer gowns to the over-the-top show production, from the “genuine” heart-felt (if not incoherent) acceptance speeches of the winners to the gracious applause from the losers – and not to mention Jennifer Lawrence’s embarrassing trip up the stairs – the Academy Awards brought its audience a wide range of emotions that only Hollywood can.
For those of us in the market research industry, the Oscars also gave us another chance to see how well the so-called experts could predict the winners. At MSI, we were curious to see how well our audience fared against the Nate Silvers and David Rothschilds of the world. We asked our social media followers a few questions on who they wanted to win, who they thought should win, and who they predicted would win in the Best Actor, Best Actress, and Best Picture categories.
With over 100 people responding, MSI followers on average watched 2 out of the 9 movies nominated for Best Picture. Over one-quarter (29%) did not watch a single nominated movie (if The Avengers was nominated that number would be much closer to 100%), but why let that stop people from making predictions or sharing their opinions? Does it matter that so many people did not watch these most of these movies? Would we see a bias towards Silver Linings Playbook, set locally in Philadelphia and starring hometown actor Bradley Cooper?
Let’s find out. Without further ado, here are the results (queue the music as we open the envelope)…
- In the category of Best Actor, 71% correctly predicted Daniel Day-Lewis as the winner. This was by far the easiest category to predict according to the pundits, with Daniel Day-Lewis sweeping the category during the award season. A little interesting was that more males felt Mr. Day-Lewis should win than females (75% to 46%), who were significantly more likely to say that Hugh Jackman deserved the nod (25% to 4%). Older folks (age 55+) also favored Daniel Day-Lewis as their choice for who should win (61%) and who will win (79%). Younger people (age 18-34) picked Hugh Jackman more so than the other age cohorts. Over half were rooting for Bradley Cooper but that didn’t seem to cloud their minds in predicting the correct winner.
- In the category of Best Actress, Jennifer Lawrence was the predicted winner by 39%, handedly defeating runner up Jessica Chastain (25%). At first glance perhaps the Silver Linings bias played a factor with over half cheering her on, but Ms. Lawrence was predicted to win Best Actress by more people than any other nominee among both males and females. However, when males were asked who should win, Jessica Chastain was actually chosen more frequently than Ms. Lawrence (36% to 32%).
The youngest (18-34) and oldest groups (55+) were equally like to predict Jennifer Lawrence and Jessica Chastain as Best Actress, but those age 35-54 overwhelmingly predicted Jennifer Lawrence.
- Finally, the most important category Best Picture. In terms of movies watched, Silver Linings was seen the most (39%) by MSI fans followed by Lincoln (36%), Argo (33%), and Zero Dark Thirty (26%). In the end, 41% predicted Lincoln to come away with the victory, compared to 26% for Argo. Alas, we missed out on the hat trick, with Argo emerging victorious (by the way, one of the best lines of the night was Argo producer Grant Heslov, standing in between co-producers Ben Affleck and George Clooney, “I know what you’re thinking, the three sexiest producers in Hollywood.”)Our results did yield some differences by gender and age. Django Unchained and Argo (18%) appealed more to males, while more females selected Les Miserables as their favorite (18% to 7%) and the movie that deserved to win (18% to 4%). More males predicted Argo to win (32% to 23%), while more females picked Les Miserables to win (23% to 4%). Younger people were more likely to select Les Miserables or Argo as Best Picture, and Lincoln was the most predicted among older people.
Other tidbits from our survey:
- Younger people (18-34) were significantly more enthusiastic about Seth MacFarlane hosting (74%) than their older counterparts (less than 50%). Males were also slightly more positive to the choice of Seth Macfarlane as host than females (54% to 46%).
- Females were more likely to watch the entire show (17% to 0%), from the red carpet to the post show interviews, although males were more likely to casually watch (64% to 45%). People age 55+ were the most likely to watch the show.
So what can we take away from our fun, little poll? Fans of MSI predicted two out of the three winners without using fancy statistical models and despite the small number who actually watched the nominated movies. While many of the respondents likely hailed from the Philly area, they still discerned the difference between who they rooted for versus who they predicted would win. Moving forward, it will be interesting to investigate in future research the differences between what people want to happen, what people think should happen, and what will actually happen.
Til next year. Can’t wait for The Hangover III to be nominated. Hopefully Anne Hathaway will stop crying by then.