Can Google Search Trends Predict Oscar Winners?

As we get down to the last couple weeks before the Oscars, it’s all about predictions. There is no German octopus to put to work on the possible winners, though a cross-eyed opossum might be able to conjure up some winners. (And, uh, maybe not.)

Possibly slightly more reliable than a marsupial with impaired vision is Google. The company just posted a blog showing that rising search trends have corresponded with the best picture winners over the last three years. Based on that admittedly minor trend, can search trends predict future winners?

Here’s what Google has to say:

Looking at Insights for Search data, we were intrigued to find that this “database of intentions” shows consistent search patterns among Best Picture winners for the last three years. Each year, the winning film has shown an upward trend in search volume for at least four weeks, as well as highest regional interest from New York (The Hurt Locker, Slumdog Millionaire and No Country for Old Men).

Google has put together a whole mini-site to collate and display search trends related to the Oscars, but as with any sort of raw data, one might possibly use this info to predict any number of things. Google points out that The Social Network is the current trending leader among the Best Picture nominees, with Black Swan and The King’s Speech coming in slightly below its ranking. It is interesting to see that it isn’t necessarily sustained interest or even the highest interest that might predict a winner, but a pattern of surging interest.

Obviously, we can’t tell how this will work out this year, but just for fun, it’ll be something to keep an eye on when the awards are announced on Sunday February 27.

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