Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Want to Chatter About Chatter About the Oscars?

Who’s going to clean up at the Oscars on Sunday? If you’re the kind of person who is frantic with anticipation…you’re probably not reading this.

But you may still end up watching the awards or find yourself in conversation with someone who cares about them. Or just making small talk, or whatever.

So here are a couple of data points you can bruit about, if you’d like. They come via Nielsen, which is trying to measure online “buzz” about the films and actors up for awards.

What is “buzz”? In this case, Nielsen is monitoring user-generated chatter about the Oscars over the last month. Whether it’s Twitter, blog comments, discussion boards, etc. Note that Nielsen is just reporting on volume here, not sentiment. So it’s possible that many of the people talking about “Avatar” hate it.

But they are talking about it, more than anything else (see chart below; click to enlarge).

Go ahead and draw your own conclusions. Mine: Not at all interesting that “Avatar” is generating chatter since it’s the most popular–or at least the highest-grossing–movie of all time. But barely anyone has seen “The Hurt Locker”–at least compared with, say, “The Blind Side.” So that’s interesting. Right?

And here’s Nielsen’s assessment of the Best Actor and Best Actress categories:

Again, many more people saw George Clooney saunter in and out of airports than saw Jeff Bridges getting drunk, so that means…I don’t know. Maybe they’re talking about Jeff Bridges because all the Oscar TV shows and articles are predicting a win for Jeff Bridges. That would make sense, right?

Meanwhile, an update on the three million New York-area TV watchers who may not be able to watch the Oscars on ABC if Disney (DIS) and Cablevision (CVC) can’t work out their spat: There is no update.

At the moment the two companies are still sending out press releases that are supposed to be incendiary. But they are, in fact, very dull.

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Nobody was excited about paying top dollar for a movie about WikiLeaks. A film about the origins of would have done better.

— Gitesh Pandya of comments on the dreadful opening weekend box office numbers for “The Fifth Estate.”