It’s the time of year again, where the film critics and pundits try to guess who will be awarded an Academy Award©, otherwise known as an Oscar, at this year’s event. In order to explore the numbers behind the Oscar© guesswork, I’ve tried to create a ‘Film Critic dashboard’ which based on Guardian Datastore data on awards made by awarding committees such as the European Film Awards, Golden Globes awards and Screen Critics awards in Jan 2010. These awards have been achieved by luminaries in the film industry for 2009; these include British actress Kate Winslet, Meryl Streep and George Clooney, amongst others.
It’s possible to provide an interesting dashboard, produced using Tableau, which explores the numbers, or counts, of the awards achieved by film or by individual. The dashboard created below has used color in order to distinguish films for each other. For example, ‘Inglorourious Basterds’ is denoted in orange in the ‘Best Film’ and ‘Best Actor/Actress’ graphs for consistency.
Further, the color palette has been chosen with colour-blind individuals in mind. Figures show that approximately 10% of males and 1% of females are color-blind, which means that they have problems in distinguishing between green and red (Few, 2008). Further, the colour ‘red’ has different culture connotations. In the US, red can be associated with jeopardy, as we can see in the phrase ‘caught red-handed’. This perception is in contrast with China, where red is considered a lucky colour. With this in mind, Tableau automatically provide a ‘Color-blind’ palette, which means that it is possible to try and accommodate issues surrounding color-blindness for viewers affected with this condition. An example dashboard, using a color-blind palette, is given below, and please click here for a larger version:
It is also interesting to note that the only actor to have won any ‘Best Supporting’ Actor awards this year has been Christoph Waltz. Similarly, the only winner of major ‘Best Supporting Actress’ awards has been Mo’Nique, for her role in Precious. If the past is a correct indicator of future wins, then they had better get their ‘Winner’ speeches ready for the Academy Awards©! Please click here for a larger version, if required.
The bottom left hand side of the graph shows a count of ‘Best Film’ awards given to different films. It is possible to see that ‘The Hurt Locker’, directed by Kathryn Bigelow, has won more ‘Best Film’ awards than the other films. The example below allows the graph to be seen in more detail, and please click here for a larger version:
Some contextual information is accommodated by provisioning a list of the Academy Award© wins by the actors and actresses who have won awards in 2009. Here is an example below:
Again, the intensity of color is used to identify the holder of the most Academy Awards©. It’s clear to see that James Cameron tops the list with a total of three Oscars© to his name, with George Clooney and Meryl Streep holding second place with two awards each. If past Academy Award© achievements are an indicator of future wins, then we could guess that these two actors are a safe bet. But who knows?
Finally, it was interesting to see the overall awards achieved by films. The ‘Best Film’ award winners were shown in the bottom half of the dashboard, and the bottom right-hand heat map shows the ranking of film overall award winners. This view has been expanded over the previous ‘Best Film’ award winners to include awards such as ‘Best Screenplay’ and ‘Best Score’. The heat map is provided here for review:
When other award types are included, it is possible to see that ‘Crazy Heart’ is the winner, with ‘The Hurt Locker’ and ‘Inglourious Basterds’ following quickly behind.
With this data in mind, we can watch the Academy Award© achievements with interest, and see how this dashboard and corresponding data has helped –or hindered – the correct prediction of the outcome!