Politics and Plain Old Fun Resonate at the Oscars

Published on Mar 2nd, 2017

By Marc Berman

The Twitter boards, of course, went wild at the that very end of the lengthy 89th Annual Academy Awards telecast on Sunday when...the wrong film was announced as the Best Picture winner. But one particular tweet, perhaps, that exemplified the mood of note during the live telecast was...

One tweet far less serious in tone, and another theme, was a result of engaged couple Gary and Vicky from the Hollywood tour bus that Jimmy Kimmel interrupted the awards with.

THE REAL WINNERS of tonight! Gary and Vicky #Oscars2017 #Oscars

In an analysis of the Academy Awards by Shareablee of social actions across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram from Oscars Sunday to the next day, one notable winner this year, Viola Davis as Best Supporting Actress for Fences, finished third overall in total actions amongst the various nominees (in all categories) with 554,052 based on her five social posts. Instagram accounted for 52% of her overall social activity.


Mahershala Ali, this year’s Best Supporting Actor for Moonlight, finished in the No. 8 spot overall, with 36,562 total actions based off of just his one post on Instagram.

Two of the four actresses nominated opposite Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer (Hidden Figures) and Naomie Harris (Moonlight), also cracked the top 10. And Justin Timberlake, who got everyone out of their chairs in a rousing opening musical number “Boomerang,” exploded in total actions with just under 3.8M based off of his 15 social posts (5 each on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram). Seventy-six percent of the social response to Justin Timberlake was a result of Instagram actions.


Director Ana DuVernay, nominated for the documentary “13th,” was on the political spectrum tweeting out a picture of herself holding up a sweatshirt that read “Trayvon.” Sunday marked the anniversary of the death of Trayvon Martin, who was shot by Florida neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman in 2012.
On my way to #Oscars. Taking a moment to remember #TrayvonMartin. Our hoodies are still up and the movement is still strong. #OurSonTrayvon 

A tally of 57% of the 205,499 total actions for DuVernay came from her 14 tweets in total.

The 89th Annual Academy Awards, of course, will be remembered primarily for one thing, and it was of enormous proportions: the Best Picture snafu, where La La Land was incorrectly announced by Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway instead of Moonlight. But La La Land led the pack in social actions in the nominated films, with 363,467 based on 21 social media posts. A total of 66% of that was the result of Instagram.

Moonlight, the actual winner, finished third in the category (behind Star Wars at No. 2), with 209,237 total actions (from 17 total social media posts).

Of note at No. 8 was this year’s Best Foreign Language film, The Salesman from Iran, with 95% of the total actions (34,275) a result of 12 posts on Instagram.

Considering the current political climate, there was no shortage of references to Donald J. Trump on the Oscars. But one actual winner, who was not even present to accept his award, was Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi, who nixed the opportunity to pick up his Oscar for The Salesman because of “the unjust circumstances” created by Trump’s executive order banning travel from several Muslim-majority countries, including Iran.

"I am sorry I am not with you here tonight,” he said via Anousheh Ansari, who read the following statement on his behalf: https://www.youtube.com/embed/WSKQhd7kD1E

This is not the first time the wrong winner was announced at an awards ceremony. While not the Oscars, and not the top award, the writing team for daytime drama The Young and the Restless was awarded the trophy in that category at the Daytime Emmy Awards in 1986. The show had already won the Emmy for Best Directing and went on to win Outstanding Drama Series as well. After the ceremony, someone behind the scenes realized The Guiding Light was the actual winner. A spokesman for the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences blamed the mix-up on "a clerical error" by the accounting firm of Coopers & Lybrand.

Moving onto presenters, Dwayne Johnson, formerly known as The Rock, had more than triple the total actions than the No. 2 occupant, Jimmy Kimmel. Instagram, once again, dominated among the three social media platforms, accounting for 92% of Johnson’s over 3M total actions. Kimmel, who went as far as to tweet Donald Trump -- "Hey @realDonaldTrump u up?” and “@realDonaldTrump #Merylsayshi” (which was in reference to triple Oscar winner Meryl Streep) – was the exception in the Top 10 ranking. A tally of 90% of the total actions for Kimmel came from Twitter.

Singer John Legend was the third presenter to crack the 1M total action mark at No. 3 overall, with Instagram once again the igniter.

Among the Oscar sponsors, Hyatt seemed to have been addressing Donald Trump directly with a spot set to the song “What the World Needs Now Is Love” that showed people of different races and backgrounds seemingly eyeing each other suspiciously before ultimately finding a special connection. The ad concludes with the words “For a world of understanding.”

This Hyatt brand finished ninth overall in total actions, with Facebook accounting for 73% of the total 22,074 actions.

Walmart, which finished seventh among all sponsors based on total actions, attempted to create a campaign that could connect the distant world of everyday lives of our customers and Hollywood movies. But the end result was more confusion than the connection by using a receipt as the theme.

Other firms populating the Top 10 based on sponsors included Adidas (341,830 total actions), Bulgari (211,802), Rolex (111,609), Swarovski Jewelry (71, 342) and McDonald’s (51,446).

By the traditional Nielsen ratings, 32.9 million viewers for the 89th Annual Academy Awards on ABC on Sunday, Feb. 26th makes it the least-watched Oscars telecast since 2008 (when No Country For Old Men was named Best Picture). This one extravaganza has lifted ABC to the most dominant weekly victory since it carried the Super Bowl in 2000. That’s 17 years! And the rise in diversity after the absence of any people of color being nominated the last two years is certainly a step in a very important direction.

With award season now unofficially a wrap, here is to another season of quality theatricals, diverse casting and exceptional performances. And, if all goes accordingly, let’s hope the announcement of the Best Picture winner next year is...well...the Best Picture winner!

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