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Oscars 2018: YouTube Reveals Best-Picture Leaderboard, but Views Don’t Always Mean Wins

Every year like clockwork, numerous tech companies and data-analytics outfits trot out predictions, based on various metrics and methodologies, about who is likely to win the big prize at the Oscars.

Spoiler alert: Their track record isn’t terribly reliable.

So take YouTube’s ranking of the 2018 Oscar best-picture nominees, based on trailer views, with the grain of salt it is.

If YouTube data were any guide, Christopher Nolan’s World War II epic “Dunkirk” is in the pole position to take home the Academy Awards trophy for best picture. Jordan Peele’s “Get Out” came in second in terms of views, followed by Guillermo del Toro’s “The Shape of Water,” Steven Spielberg’s “The Post” and Greta Gerwig’s “Lady Bird.”

But history shows that predicting “Dunkirk” as the 2018 best-picture winner based on trailer views is probably not a safe bet (although to be fair, YouTube doesn’t explicitly say its rankings are predictions).

YouTube’s ranking for the 2017 Oscars put “La La Land” — mistakenly announced as the winner, before “Moonlight” was correctly awarded the honor — as the No. 1 movie in the category. “Moonlight” took the No. 8 spot, according to YouTube. And in 2016, YouTube’s trailer-count ranking was similarly way off the mark: “Spotlight,” which won best picture that year, also came in No. 8 on its leaderboard.

Meanwhile, the top two most-viewed best-picture nominee trailers on YouTube also happen to be the highest-earning among the nominees, according to Box Office Mojo. “Dunkirk” has grossed $188 million domestically and “Get Out” has banked $176 million in ticket sales. But as with trailer views, box-office take is a poor predictor of who the eventual winner on Oscar Sunday will be.

YouTube’s 2018 Oscars Best-Picture Trailers Leaderboard

Rank Movie Views
1 Dunkirk 43.9 million
2 Get Out 29.9 million
3 The Shape of Water 18.2 million
4 The Post 17.3 million
5 Lady Bird 11.5 million
6 Phantom Thread 9.7 million
7 Call Me By Your Name 7.9 million
8 Darkest Hour 6.0 million
9 Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri 5.2 million

YouTube determined the ranking using an algorithm factoring in paid views, organic views, and audience retention (how much of a video people watched). To be eligible, trailers must have been for movies nominated in the 2018 Academy Awards best picture category. The view counts are lifetime views from each trailer’s release Feb. 14, 2018.

YouTube also released the top Oscar acceptance speeches to date. Obviously, however, this isn’t a comprehensive survey, given that YouTube came into existence only in 2005:

Most-Watched Oscar Acceptance Speeches on YouTube

1. Leonardo DiCaprio (2016) | 11M+ views

2. Heath Ledger (2009) | 10.2M+ views

3. Matthew McConaughey (2014) | 10.1M+ views

4. Kate Winslet (2009) | 8.5M+ million views

5. Jennifer Lawrence (2013) | 8.4M+ views

6. Roberto Benigni (1999) | 7.3M+ views

7. Tom Hanks (1995) | 6.1M+ views

8. Natalie Portman (2011) | 5.6M+ views

9. Sandra Bullock (2010) | 5.2M+ views

10. Adrien Brody (2003) | 5.2M+ views

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