The Great Oscars Debate

#OscarsSoWhite: It all started from one little tweet

Survey stats: We surveyed 765 Americans on the Oscars, and got results in under 1 hour
What did we discover: A surprising number of Americans believe that racism, sexism, and other biases exist behind the silver screen.
Most surprising:  The Oscar controversy started on Twitter, but only 7% of Americans found out about it on Twitter.

Each year, millions of Americans tune into the Oscars – the annual awards ceremony hosted by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences – to see who will win awards for Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Director, Best Animated Feature Film, and more obscure awards like the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award, and the Gordon E. Sawyer Award.

Haven’t seen too much on Twitter about those, nonetheless, they are still awards of merit.

82% of Americans surveyed are movie-goers, and we asked them their thoughts on the Oscars, here’s what we discovered, in under 1 hour, using the Pollfish mobile survey network.

  • 50% have watched the Oscars in the past, and of those
  • 73% will watch or record it again this year.

Of those who haven’t watched the Oscars in the past, 20% are showing some interest this year as they will plan to watch it live, record it, or at least indicated they wanted to hear the results the next day.

Maybe Chris Rock is pulling in a new audience.

Oscar Controversy – The boycott is real

40% of those surveyed are familiar with the controversy.

The remainder are not, or simply don’t care.

Where did you hear about it, America?

Of those who heard about the controversy, only 7% found out on Twitter – where it all began with the almost infamous tweet, from Chris Rock: “The #Oscars. The White BET Awards” which launched an almost-as-infamous hashtag #OscarsSoWhite. Get the official-unofficial timeline here.

The majority of us found out about this on other media outlets like

  • Television (34%)
  • Facebook (21%)
  • Websites (14%)
  • Radio (12%)

– and a few of us even talked to people 6%, or at least overheard someone talking about it, or spoke about it so loudly by the office water cooler that perhaps prompted some of us (4%) to read about it in a newspaper.

So, we now know that Americans get their breaking news on Twitter from other sources.

Does it even matter?

16% of those aware of the calls for an Oscars “boycott” stated that it changed their opinion of Hollywood – with comments ranging from “I think they are being racist in a big way” to “it has brought to my attention that there is also a lack of diversity behind the camera”.

What’s the real issue?

Nearly 15% believe the Oscars are skewed to begin with, so we wanted to know more about the perception of bias in Hollywood:

  • 52% think there is RACIAL bias in Hollywood, or are unsure.
  • 58% think there is GENDER bias, or are unsure.
  • 58% believe there is SEXUAL ORIENTATION bias, or are unsure.

Still, 59% believe that an A-lister boycott won’t change a thing, or are unsure.

Guess we’ll have to watch TV to find out what was breaking on Twitter about what’s happening at the live television event.


For more on this survey, and to customize the results views by question or answer, check out the results here.