Oscar Senti-meter: Demian Bichir leads best actor tweet mentions

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When Oscar nominations were announced, the Twitterverse lit up with messages from movie fans excited about — and upset about — the picks in the best picture, lead actor and lead actress categories. But you might be surprised about which performers and movies got the most tweets — and who had the most positive buzz.
The Oscar Senti-meter — a tool developed by the L.A. Times, IBM and the USC Annenberg Innovation Lab — analyzes opinions about the Academy Awards race shared in millions of public messages on Twitter. The Senti-meter combs through a high volume of tweets daily and uses language-recognition technology, developed in collaboration with USC’s Signal Analysis and Interpretation Lab, to gauge positive, negative and neutral opinions shared in the messages. It also tracks the number of tweets.

Cataloging these tweets over time gives insight into the vox pop surrounding Hollywood’s awards season, and gives a voice to average fans who may endorse — or abhor — the selections made by Tinseltown’s elite.


Using our interactive tool, you can compare the volume and tone of tweets about the lead actor contest between two days, Monday, Jan. 23, the day before the Oscar nominations, and Tuesday, Jan. 24, the day the nominees were announced.

With George Clooney and Brad Pitt landing nominations for “The Descendants” and “Moneyball,” respectively, you might expect that these big names and their Oscar prospects might have garnered the most buzz on nominations day.

Instead, though, it was Demian Bichir, the Mexican-born star of the little-seen “A Better Life,” and his awards prospects that topped the charts with 6,893 messages. That was a 47-fold increase from his tally the day before, when there were just 33 tweets related to Bichir and Hollywood awards.

Some typical messages were “wow!!! Mexican pride!!! This is so awesome! ?@Vacartu: @juanmgc Demian Bichir just got nominated for a Best Actor at the Oscars” and “Congratulations to Mexican actor Demian Bichir, nominated BEST ACTOR for the all Hispanic-cast film A Better Life!” Bichir’s response to his nomination — “I dedicate this nomination to those 11 million human beings who make our lives easier and better in the U.S.,” a reference to undocumented workers like the one he plays in the film — prompted another wave of supportive tweets.

Spanish speakers took to Twitter en masse, sending more than 4,000 tweets about the nomination, such as “Bien! Demian Bichir nominado para Actor in a Leading Role por Better Life #oscars #mexicanpride” but his volume was also upped by messages such as: “Who is Demian Bichir and why is he nominate for best actor. #Oscars2012”

Another foreign-born actor, Jean Dujardin, was nominated for lead actor for his lead role in “The Artist,” but the Frenchman and his awards prospects saw the lowest volume of any nominees on Tuesday — with just 1,388.


Gary Oldman, star of “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy,” was a close second to Bichir, with 6,841 tweets.
As for snubs, Michael Fassbender — who bared it all in “Shame” — was the subject of the most outrage, with 3,513 messages.

Some more sample tweets from Oscar nomination day:

  • Demian Bichir nominado al Oscar? Now I’ve seen everything!!
  • I reeeaaallly want Brad Pitt to take Best Actor at the Oscars. Think “Most Improved,” and he’s absolutely earned it.
  • If Gary Oldman doesn’t win Best Actor In A Leading Role then I don’t want to live anymore. #TeamGaryOldman
  • I love Clooney but I’m not convinced dressing like a schlub, sporting a bad haircut, and turning off the charm makes an Oscar-worthy perf.
  • why do I have a feeling that if Jean Dujardin wins Best Actor, he’ll pull a Roberto Begnini?
  • I have to imagine that Billy Crystal is probably taking Michael Fassbender’s Oscar snub far harder than Fassbender is.

Have fun exploring the interactive tool, and keep tweeting. Who knows, your messages might just show up in our sample tweets on a future day.


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— Julie Makinen