If Twitter Users Could Vote


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A scene from “Selma,” which, judging by tweets, is the popular favorite among best-picture nominees.Credit Atsushi Nishijima/Paramount Pictures, via Associated Press

Only members of the Academy can determine Oscar winners, but if tweets were votes, “Selma” would take best picture. That’s going by the numbers crunched by Twitter, which analyzed discussions surrounding contenders in select categories since Jan. 15, when the nominations were unveiled.

While “American Sniper” was the most-discussed film on the best-picture slate, Twitter looked further at the context of the conversations, zeroing in on Academy Awards-related messages. By that measure, “Selma” was the front-runner.

In the acting categories, Julianne Moore has been picking up prizes all season for her performance in “Still Alice,” and Twitter found that its users were in agreement with that choice. But after that they departed from conventional wisdom: based on the service’s analysis, the tweeting contingent wants Benedict Cumberbatch (“The Imitation Game”) to get best actor, and Meryl Streep (“Into the Woods”) and Mark Ruffalo (“Foxcatcher) to win in the supporting categories.

Twitter also took a state-by-state look at the popularity of Oscar-nominated films among its users and found “Selma” support biggest in, yes, Alabama.

Attention, Office Oscar Pool Players


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Workers moved an Oscar statue on the red carpet for the 87th Academy Awards. Credit Monica Almeida/The New York Times

It’s predictions day at the Carpetbagger blog and as you pore over your Oscar ballot, here are some thoughts to keep in mind:

— The Bagger’s predictions are here. In the neck-and-neck race between “Birdman” and “Boyhood,” she’s choosing the former.

— Her colleague David Leonhardt at The Upshot has already explained why the Oscars make such a good subject for prediction markets. And now, for those who’d like a little help, he has a ballot marked with odds-on favorites that may give you a head start on your office Oscar pool.

— For the contrarian view of the best picture race, Deadline.com reports that Senzari, described as “a big-data company specializing in movies and music,” says that “American Sniper” has the best chance of winning best picture, followed by “The Imitation Game.” The argument hinges on box office performance and an analysis of the movie’s elements, rather than the usual prognosticator benchmarks of precursor prizes and the like.

— For the cineaste view, Kevin B. Lee at Fandor asks not who will win, but who deserves to win, in his annual video essay examining each of the nominees here.

What if regular film fans, not Academy members, could vote on the Oscars? Twitter’s answer, based on tweets and the context of the messages, was “Selma.” But according to a survey conducted for The Upshot using Google Consumer Surveys, it’s “American Sniper.” Reporting on the survey, Mr. Leonhardt writes, “42 percent of respondents cited ‘American Sniper,’ while no other movie received more than 12 percent.

Finally, for those tired of odds and predictions and the guesses surrounding best picture, here’s a sure thing: Vocativ took a look at who gets thanked in acceptance speeches here and found that “the Academy” has been name-checked in 43 percent of all speeches (or at least the ones archived by the Academy here), followed by Mom and Dad (28 percent of speeches).

And the individual most often thanked? Harvey Weinstein beat out God (winners mentioned the producer 34 times; the Almighty, 19). But the Oscar thank-you award goes to: Steven Spielberg, name-dropped 42 times.