#Oscars 2017: Which Best Picture Nominated Movie Trailers Generated the Most Engagement?

#Oscars 2017: Which Best Picture Nominated Movie Trailers Generated the Most Engagement?

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Two years ago, we started what has turned into an annual event. It’s sort of a mash-up of critical data and strategic insights for video marketers who’ve been too busy to see a lot of movies in the past year. First, we look at some critical data from Tubular Labs about the movie trailers for the Oscar nominees for Best Picture – and all of the other videos made by other creators that mention these trailers by name. Hey, Lionsgate doesn’t mind if their ”La La Land” trailer is uploaded to 9.287 different accounts on YouTube and another 2,049 on Facebook as long as it sells tickets.

Then, we enlist some old friends from Cinema Sins to provide Tubular Insights readers with some strategic insights that will boost their status as an authentic video marketing experts in time for Sunday’s big Oscar parties. Today, the Cinema Sins YouTube channel has more than 1.6 billion views and over 6.6 million subscribers, and believes that “No movie is without sin.”

Our goal is to provide you with a cheat sheet of critical data before you place a last-minute bet in your office Oscar pool. Why? Do you have any idea how much money you could win? Heck, it’s probably more cold, hard cash than most YouTube Partners made last month … unless, of course, they’re part of the Google Preferred lineup! And during the big Oscar party, you’ll be able to point out the “sins” in the trailers for the movies that were nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture. Why bother? Hey, there are more than 5.3 million publishers, according to Tubular Labs. So, the odds are pretty good that a couple of them will also be at the party and be so impressed with your strategic insights that they’ll hire you on the spot. So, without further ado, here’s what you need to know in order to win the pool, impress complete strangers, and get a sweet new gig.

Insights: Oscars 2017 Trailers for Oscar Nominees for Best Picture

The Official YouTube Blog shared some data last week – which has led a lot of people to jump to the conclusion that “La La Land” will win the Oscar for Best Picture. Why? Because the trailer for “La La Land” landed in the #1 spot on the YouTube #Oscars 2017: Which Best Picture Movie Trailers Generated the Most Engagement Movie Trailers Leaderboard, which ranked the nine best picture nominees in order of views, including views on both studio channels and popular aggregators. It was followed closely by the trailers for “Arrival” and “Hacksaw Ridge.” So, that’s how conventional wisdom has handicapped this race. Of course, we don’t really know if there is any correlation at all between “views” of movie trailers on YouTube and “votes” by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the mysterious group that decides who gets to win an Oscar.

So, is there any other critical data about the trailers for Best Picture that hasn’t been widely publicized … yet? Well, my friends at Tubular Labs discovered a few things that are well worth knowing.

For example, the trailer for “La La Land” has 235,000,000 views on YouTube and another 98,800,000 on Facebook. That puts “La La Land” far ahead of “Arrival,” which has 67,100,000 views on YouTube and another 20,500,000 on Facebook. And way ahead of “Hacksaw Ridge,” which has 49,100,000 views on YouTube and another 52,400,000 on Facebook. And video markers know that YouTube and Facebook define a “view” different ways. But, it’s worth noting that, according to Tubular Labs, “Hidden Figures” got 94,500,000 views on Facebook and another 29,700,000 on YouTube. It was followed by “Fences,” which got 85,200,000 views on Facebook and another 36,400,000 on YouTube. And “Lion” got 80,800,000 views on Facebook and another 22,700,000 on YouTube.

So, there may be six different horses in this race that have a legitimate shot of winning – if views are correlated with votes. But, video marketers also know there are better metrics for comparing movie trailers. For example, Tubular Video Ratings represent a set of online video metrics that measure views and engagements across videos and publishers. These metrics include a simplified first 30-day views (V30) and first 30-day engagement rating (ER30).

Using first 30-day views, the horse race looks very different. On YouTube, “Fences” has a V30 of 120,000, “Arrival” has a V30 of 93,400, and “La La Land” has a V30 of 63,800. On Facebook, “Fences” has a V30 of 258,000, “Hidden Figures” has a V30 of 153,000, and “Lion” has a V30 of 141,000. Using first 30-day engagement rating on YouTube, “Hidden Figures” has a 2.1 ER30, “Arrival” has a 1.8, and “Hell or High Water” has a 1.7. On Facebook, “Moonlight” has a 1.6 ER30, and “Hacksaw Ridge”, “Fences”, and “Arrival” are tied with a 1.4.

In other words, eight of the nine movies nominated for Best Picture have a shot at winning. The only one that doesn’t appear to measure up is “Manchester by the Sea.”

So, if your Oscar pool gives every nominee an equal chance of winning, then bet on “La La Land.” It’s still the favorite to win. But, if your Oscar pool is using Las Vegas odds, then bet on “Hidden Figures,” which could be the one that knocks off “La La Land” for Best Picture. Who knows, with a very modest investment, you could end up winning 25 times more than you made last month as a YouTube Partner.

CinemaSins: A Look at the Movie Trailers 

Now, let’s give our friends and former colleagues at CinemaSins.com equal time for opposing views.  As they did last year, they’ve listed the time code for where their observation should go, given us a brief description of what’s happening, and then indicated where the “sin” comes after it. Here goes:

Arrival – Paramount Pictures

0:10 (from the director of Sicario and Prisoners) From the great director who brought you these two great movies you totally ignored!

0:32 (egg-shaped vessel) The vessel that lands on Earth is egg-shaped, but that’s not symbolic or anything.  Probably has less-than-nothing to do with this movie, so feel free to ignore it.  Yep, just move along.

1:38 (it’s their language) This trailer is at least forthright about what you’re going to see: 2 hours of Amy Adams writing the new Rosetta Stone software for people who want to learn Alien soon after being unable to get past Disc 1 of Spanish.

2:20 (“Arrival”) Not to be confused with the 1996 alien-invasion movie of nearly the same name called “The Arrival,” only this one is better, see, because it has one less definite article and 100% less Charlie Sheen.

Fences – Paramount Pictures

0:00-0:04 Four seconds of sawing while three vanity logos splash across the screen.

0:14 (what law is there say “I got to like you?”) Man, Denzel Washington is so great in this scene where he’s being terrible to his kid, that I could splice this scene into 30-40 other intense Denzel Washington movies and you wouldn’t notice, or care, or even be confused.  You’d be like, “Man, I love Crimson Tide!  I don’t know how they got from the submarine to 1950’s Pittsburgh in that one scene, but it was great!”

0:47 (Academy Award nominee Viola Davis) This is for the small portion of the audience who has only seen Viola Davis in “Suicide Squad.”

1:25 (it’s not easy for me to admit that I’ve been standing in the same place for 18 years/well I’ve been standing with you!) Wait, was I trying to be a jerk to this movie?  Why am I not watching this movie right now, on repeat?  Might have to remove 2 sins for this scene alone!

Hacksaw Ridge – Lionsgate 

0:15 (Lionsgate/Summit logo, followed by helicopter shot of trees) Look, I know you saw a flaming body at the beginning of this trailer, and what appears to be a war movie, but after seeing this logo and this helicopter shot, don’t you dare call it “Twilight.”  I dare you to call it “Twilight.”

0:21 (Teresa Palmer) And look, I know this actress kind of looks like Kristen Stewart, and this is some sort of love story, but you must keep that “Twilight” business out of your head.  Just stay away from it.

0:38 (Vince Vaughn) Vince Vaughn is a drill sergeant in this movie.  I hear he’s supposed to be really good in this, but I can’t help but think of “Swingers,” “Old School,” “Wedding Crashers,” “Starsky & Hutch,” and quite honestly, “Domestic Disturbance” popped in my head, too.  I’m willing to take the blame here.

1:29 (From the Academy Award winning director of Braveheart) For those of you who don’t recall or Google, that’s Mel Gibson.  So what Summit is really saying here is, “From the Director We Hope You’ve Forgiven for that ‘Sugar Tits’ Remark, Among Other Things We Can’t Say in this Trailer.”

Hell or High Water – Lionsgate 

0:20 (it’s too big/that’s what she said) Are we still saying, “That’s what she said”?  Didn’t we have a funeral for it both before AND after “The Office”?

0:56 (I may have one hunt left in me) Jeff Bridges is great in a performance you’ve never seen before, unless you’ve seen “The Big Lebowski,” “True Grit,” or “Crazy Heart.”

1:37 (from the writer of “Sicario”) Man, “Sicario” is getting the most love I’ve ever seen for a movie that “maybe made its money back, but probably didn’t.”  And I think it’s great, too, but you’re not casting too wide a net here trying to get all the people who loved “Sicario” into these movies.

1:53 (“This Summer”) THIS “This Summer” is for all the ignorant people who missed the LAST “This Summer” that went across the screen approximately 2 seconds into the trailer.  Also, they seem a little unsure in both of those instances WHEN in the summer it’ll actually play, but by the end of the trailer (2:40) they tell you “August,” so what’s with making me guess three other months?

2:00 (“Justice Isn’t A Crime”) Hmm… that’s an interesting discussion we could have sometime.  They ARE robbing banks, right?

Hidden Figures – 20th Century Fox 

0:38 (I had no idea they hired…/there are quite a few women working the space program) Ah, the ‘60s.  There was so much racism and sexism back then.  Glad to be in 2016 where we’re way more toler–… OH MY GOD LOOK AWAY FROM THE YOUTUBE COMMENTS RIGHT NOW.

0:47 (Kevin Costner) I see they got Kevin Costner on loan from that movie “Thirteen Days.”  It was kind of that movie to let this one borrow him.

0:54 (Jim Parsons) Jim Parsons stretches his acting chops after playing an affable, hilarious nerd on “The Big Bang Theory” by taking out the “affable” and “hilarious” and seeing if magic can happen.

0:59 (Kirsten Dunst) Holy crap.  Is that Kirsten Dunst?  But “Interview with the Vampire” made clear she would be 11 forever, which REALLY makes me reconsider all the real-world predictions I made based on watching that movie.

2:51 (let me ask you, if you were a white male, would you wish to be an engineer/I wouldn’t have to, I’d already be one) Oh!  I just got it.  “Hidden Figures” isn’t just a term for the MATH, it works as a DOUBLE MEANING in that these “figures,” meaning these women, were “hidden…” UNSUNG, if you will.  Good God, the past was terrible.

La La Land – Lionsgate 

0:26 (Emma Stone walks in, sees Ryan Gosling) Wow, Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling again, Hollywood?  I admit they were fun to watch in “Crazy Stupid Love” and then I tried to forget them in “Gangster Squad,” but is there something in their contracts that require them to be a couple in movies?

0:32 (you’re fired) Damien Chazelle hired his Oscar-winning actor from “Whiplash,” J.K. Simmons, to be a jerk to musicians again.

1:12 (floating in planetarium) Sure, when I do that in a planetarium, I get arrested.  These guys do it, and it’s somehow magical and whimsical and they drop the trespassing charges.

1:17 (how are you going to be a revolutionary, when you’re such a traditionalist/you’re holding onto the past, but jazz is the future) Yet another movie trying to push jazz on me.  Look, I watched “That Thing You Do!” and saw the enthusiasm of a young Tom Everett Scott.  I actually watched all 4 seasons of “Treme.”  If jazz could have called to me, it would have done it already.


0:24 I had another family, a mother and a brother) Dev Patel stars in a movie that is basically “Slumdog Millionaire” with Google Maps.  And instead of saving a girl, he’s looking for his mom and his brother… No, those aren’t tears in my eyes.  LOOK AWAY!

0:35 (I’ll be right back) This trailer is filled with lots of running.  First here, then (0:51) here, (1:17) here, (1:23) here twice, (1:26) more here, (1:50) here, (1:55) here, (1:58) here, (2:04) and ESPECIALLY here.  I hope this kid got a few breaks while filming this movie, because I’M tired.

2:17 (Lion) Based on a book called “A Long Way Home,” which I admit is generic, but apparently Hollywood said, “Nope!  Not generic ENOUGH.”

Manchester by the Sea – Amazon Studios 

0:19 (Amazon Studios) Whoa!  Amazon Studios!  I admit they do a pretty good job when I order a whole bunch of junk online, but can Amazon make a Prime movie experience?—I’ll show myself out.

1:35 (all my friends are here, I’ve got two girlfriends, and I’m in a band/you’re a janitor in Quincy/what the hell do you care where you live) I don’t know.  But it probably will require numerous, sometimes confusing flashbacks, and almost two hours of movie, to figure out the answer to that question.

2:05 (“His most masterful film to date”) This blurb refers to Kenneth Lonergan, and I agree it’s a great movie.  But what is also accurate is that “Manchester by the Sea” is his “third” film to date.  I’m not saying you’re WRONG, Boston Globe, I’m just saying you need to keep your superlatives in check.


0:18 (whatchoo looking at me like that for/what man, you just drove down here) Uh-oh.  Here’s a movie you won’t be able to discuss with half of your friends.

0:32 (from director Barry Jenkins) Look, Barry Jenkins may end up being one of the best directors of our time.  But what does this mean in a movie trailer in 2016?  “Oh yeah, I totally remember Barry Jenkins!  He was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award for his 2008 feature ‘Medicine for Melancholy.’  And who could forget his short, ‘Chlorophyll’?”  If you’re one of the three people who said that, congratulations.

1:18 (about to kiss on the beach) I feel like the year 2216 is looking at us and watching “Moonlight” and asking, “What’s so dramatic and/or scandalous about this?”  Glad to be in 2216 where we’re way more toler–… OH MY GOD LOOK AWAY FROM THE YOUTUBE COMMENTS RIGHT NOW.

HUGE THANKS to CinemaSins for their insights and time. And now, I hope you will excuse me for closing with a shameless plug for my niece, Heather MacDonald. She’s the co-writer of “Jim: The James Foley Story,” which has already won an Emmy Award and was last year’s Sundance US Documentary Audience Award winner. “The Empty Chair” from “Jim: The James Foley Story” has been nominated in the Music (Original Song) category. The music is by Justin Hurwitz and the lyric is by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul. Yes, Sting is the artist who sings “The Empty Chair.”


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