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A night at the Oscars: What did Twitter think about the 2012 Academy Awards?

The 84th annual Academy Awards were held this weekend. As we’ve seen in years past, Twitter has a lot to say about the Academy Award winners, losers (non-winning nominees?), and the show in general.

This year, we tracked tweets about the Oscars – more than 2 million of them - throughout the show’s broadcast on Sunday, February 26, 2012, and collected them in our Academy Awards Twitter Explorer. Click around the explorer to see when tweets were posted about nominees in six of the main categories, including Best Picture, Best Actor and Best Actress. Or, read on for our take on what Twitter thought of the 2012 Academy Awards.

Twitter’s top ten favorite Oscar 2012 moments were, in order:

  1. Cirque du Soleil performance. The audience seemed entranced by the acrobatic dancers, and so did Twitter.
  2. Octavia Spencer wins Best Supporting Actress for her role in The Help. She even got a standing ovation!
  3. Hugo wins for Best Visual Effects. And a bunch of other awards too, but this category generated the most tweets.
  4. Meryl Streep wins Best Actress for The Iron Lady. This is a bit of surprise, as many expected Viola Davis to win this category. Regardless, Meryl is lovely and thanks her hairdresser.
  5. The Artist wins Best Picture. No surprise whatsoever here. And everyone loves Uggie the dog.
  6. Zach Galifianakis and Will Ferrell present Best Original Song award to Bret McKenzie for The Muppets. Bret’s work in Flight of the Conchords makes him popular on Twitter. Not to mention, Zach and Will are pretty funny guys.
  7. Christopher Plummer wins Best Supporting Actor. At 82, he’s only two years younger than the Oscars themselves.
  8. Jennifer Lopez and her possible wardrobe malfunction. Was that a shadow or something else? Twitter seems to think it was not a shadow.
  9. Jean Dujardin wins Best Actor for The Artist. Another unsurprising win. Jean seems tickled to have won, and thanks the audience in French during his speech.
  10. Angelina Jolie presents Best Adapted Screenplay to The Descendants. Angie’s provocative pose and its subsequent imitation by Jim Rash (another Twitter favorite because of his role on Community) got a big laugh.

During the three-hour awards show, we tracked 2.05 million tweets about the Oscars, with the biggest spike at 18,718 tweets in one minute (during the Cirque du Soleil performance). These numbers are up quite a bit from last year, when the 2011 Oscars garnered 1.27 million tweets and a maximum spike of 11,780 tweets per minute.

The nominees with the most Twitter mentions during the show were:

  1. Meryl Streep – 74,793 tweets
  2. Octavia Spencer – 59,957
  3. Christopher Plummer – 41,107
  4. Jean Dujardin – 23,614
  5. Rooney Mara – 23,233
  6. Brad Pitt – 18,702
  7. Viola Davis – 17,651
  8. Woody Allen – 14,280
  9. George Clooney – 13,252
  10. Martin Scorsese – 11,328

The top three films nominated for Best Picture, by tweet volume:

  1. Hugo – 110,179 tweets
  2. The Artist – 78,509
  3. The Help – 23,585

For more information about our interactive explorer, read this blog post about how and what we tracked.