Winnowing the Oscars 2016 field via social media

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Some of my handiwork at work at USA TODAY

Oscar predictions have hit critical mass this week — from both critics’ standpoints and mass opinions online.

Sealed envelopes? Puh-leaze. Such an archaic messenging device. And no one wants to wait four days for the reveal. These days social media is a prism that doubles as crystal ball.

Who says the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences secret ballots are impregnable?

On the heels of a USA TODAY/Fandango.com poll among 1,000 well-versed moviegoers predicting who’ll win, Hewlett Packard Enterprise analyzed thousands of online conversations surrounding the “top six” categories. It monitored top social media sites and thousands of news sites, using its enterprise search and analytics platform HPE IDOL, to come up with these crowdsourced best bets:

Best Picture: Spotlight

Best Director: Lenny Abrahamson

Best Actor: Matt Damon

Best Supporting Actor: Mark Rylance

Best Actress: Brie Larson

Best Supporting Actress: Rooney Mara

Interesting subplot: Although what HPE dubs “social sentiment” leaned one way, the volume of interest in particular nominees largely leaned another. Of split minds, just as so many other movie fans and pundits, like my Predictions & Picks system. Coin toss time.

Buzziest Picture: The Revenant
38% of mentions in posts related to that category

Buzziest Actor: Leonardo DiCaprio – 61%

Buzziest Actress: Brie Larson – 35% (we have a match!)

Buzziest Director: Alejandro G. Iñárritu – 70%

Buzziest Supporting Actor: Sylvester Stallone – 95%

Buzziest Supporting Actress: Kate Winslet – 33%

oscar1wordIf such analytics prove inaccurate Sunday — as in not mirroring the opinions of the 89% male, 84% white and roughly 50% 60-or-older voting members of the academy — at least we can be sure they reflect the public’s tastes in movies and performers.

Using the same mobile tools as the revolutionaries at Maidan or the activists behind the #OscarsSoWhite campaign, perhaps We the small-screen People can help direct future big-screen endeavors.

Meanwhile, my Oscar marathoning score, with just four days and three nights to go: 30/37+12/15 or 81% of all nominees in 23 of the top 24 categories (does not include the Original Song nominees, because I’m not so masochistic as to force myself to watch Fifty Shades of Grey).

The Daily Urinal Journal: Who knew?

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Exploiting a new niche market: A veritable pee palace!

So what ELSE has been going on in men’s restrooms all these years I’m not privy to?!

It has come to my attention that at my favorite Mexican restaurant in Reston the current edition of USA TODAY is displayed in a colorful array above the urinals.

This poses many interesting questions: What did you THINK men were busy looking at while they went? Do they fight for the urinal beneath the sports section? Is that sexist of me? How do they turn the pages? Will the papered walls one day be replaced by iPad screens, or will men’s rooms be the final (edition) bastion of print journalism?

I’m ever intrigued how the world plays out differently for men vs. women, but it blows my mind I’ve never been let in on this boys’ club secret. And in downtown D.C., my husband informs me, The Washington Post has dibs at every self-respecting Irish pub washroom. After several Harps or Guinnesses, I’d imagine, men could consume a lot of news in relief. Women, at best, get advertisements, crisis-center hotlines or lovesick graffiti inside their stalls, while men are soaking up a FREE news stream?!

It’s a wonder there aren’t longer lines to get in.

Anyone who has ever lived with a man knows that a newspaper and the john go hand in hand. We even refer to the “men’s room” at home as the “library.” Moreso now, since laptops and smartphones have made access within the facilities more facile.

Still, I can’t help but think media companies, fighting to keep from going down the drain, haven’t somehow capitalized on this fecund opportunity — the last-standing outpost to the newsstand. Could prove a gold(en) mine. All those averted eyeballs, looking for something respectful to do.

I’ll humbly volunteer to do more market research.

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No power? More power to ‘The New York Times’

Some good news to come out of Superstorm Sandy’s rampage on New York City: Newspapers are selling again. Selling out.

According to USA TODAY breaking news reporter and colleague Melanie Eversley:

… The mood was not so festive at the Pinaz newspaper-magazine shop on Sixth Avenue, where lights remained out and the atmosphere inside was dark and claustrophobic.

Cashier Shakeel Khan, 38, said Wednesday afternoon [Oct. 31] that the owner asked him to open up in the late morning, but so far, he’d had only eight customers. He said he planned to close early.

Newspapers were delivered that day, though, and he did sell out, he said.”

With no cell service, TV or Internet, people can’t get enough of the news that’s fit to print — even in the dark. In a post-apocalyptic world, we’ll be scratching out messages on papyrus leaves and burning them for heat. Usher in a modern media Dark Age.

GET ME REWRITE.

What’s wrong with this picture? … Yep, no distaff journos on staff.