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"Avatar" and "Hurt Locker" lead in online Oscar traffic, "Basterds" a distant third

by Eric Melin on March 4, 2010

in Blogs

In yesterday’s blog, I went into detail about how we set up our 2010 Oscar prediction study. Using Spiral16’s Internet monitoring tool Spark, we aim to find out if there is any correlation between online chatter about the top three Best Picture candidates and the result of Sunday night’s awards ceremony.

The overall percentage for each of the movies hasn’t changed that much since yesterday. Remember, the URLs deemed relevant for this study are only the ones that also mention “best picture.”


  • Avatar is still in the lead, gaining one percent since yesterday, with 43% of the conversation.
  • The Hurt Locker remains in second and goes down a percentage point, with a 32% share of online mentions.
  • Inglourious Basterds loses one point, going down to 25%.
  • Now let’s look at how the results differ in the three separate searches related to each movie. Looking at the Semantic Cloud, you can get a good idea of the language people that are using when writing about the Best Picture race. Although Inglourious Basterds has only 7% less of the share of conversation overall, it’s status as a distant third place is solidified by looking at the total count of words used.

  • In the Avatar insight, “hurt” is the fifth most-used word, “locker” is the sixth, and “basterds” is 27th. Look at the Semantic Cloud of words used in the Avatar study below.
  • In The Hurt Locker’s results, “avatar” is the sixth most used word and “basterds” is 26th.
  • In the Inglourious Basterds insight, “hurt,” “locker,” and “avatar” are three, four, and five.
  • Looking at this, it’s pretty clear that Basterds is running a distant third. It should also be noted that no other nominated movies’ keywords (Precious, Up, Up in the Air, The Blind Side, etc.) showed up before Basterds, further solidifying its place as the odds-on unrewarded bronze medalist .It’s also worth mentioning that The Hurt Locker has such a solid presence in the word cloud overall.Other interesting sidenotes:In all three studies, “oscar” outranks “academy” and “awards,” while “oscars” is right behind them.inglourious-basterds-pitt_1024This is no big surprise to learn that people are using the slang terminology more than the official title of the ceremony.

    With another search today, I also confirmed my suspicions from yesterday with data from Spark. I contended that:

    The Nielsen Company, in a post from yesterday, appears to have made a major goof in their flawed Best Picture study. Not only did Inglourious Basterds come in last in terms of total buzz—not a chance that is accurate—but in their data chart, the movie is spelled incorrectly as well.”

    Using two different queries, one for “inglourious basterds” and one for the more subtly misspelled title “inglorious basterds,” I discovered that 46% of all people referencing the film spelled it wrong like Neilsen did. This means their study didn’t pick up a whopping 55% of the traffic that spelled the film’s title right.

    We’ll have more data insight tomorrow, so stay tuned.

    Eric is the Editor-in-Chief of and writes for The Pitch. He’s former President of the KCFCC, and drummer for The Dead Girls, Ultimate Fakebook, and Truck Stop Love . He is also Air Guitar World Champion Mean Melin. Eric goes to 11. Follow him at:

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