As I said around this time last year: no. No they can’t.
Social media can be a great predictor of many things, especially where sentiment plays a major role in deciding the outcome of an event that is shaped by the public. For example, the winner of The X Factor, or even who is most likely to be the next occupant of the White House. What Twitter and Facebook can’t do is predict the outcome of an event in which the people polled have no control or influence over whatsoever. At best, it’s just a guess.
Still, it’s always fun to see who and what social media users would like to win an Academy Award, and this latest study says it’s ensemble drama The Help that may well emerge as the surprise Best Picture winner on the night.
Which, of course, will be nothing more than a coincidence, as Twitter and Facebook users have absolutely no sway over the Academy. That aside, The Help has been nominated for just three awards, but is far and away the clear favourite to bag the Best Picture Oscar on both Twitter and Facebook.
The Help star Viola Davis is also a Twitter favourite to secure the Best Actress prize. Brad Pitt’s role in Moneyball has twice as many Best Actor Oscar Twitter mentions as George Clooney’s turn in The Descendants. Hugo, despite eleven nominations, and The Artist, with eight, hardly factor at all. And that probably tells you all you need to know.
This infographic from social media agency Banyan Branch takes a closer look at the social media frontrunners for the Oscars.
(Source: Banyan Branch.)