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Film & Media

The Revenant Is the Frontrunner for Best Picture Oscar, Ipsos Study Finds

Critical Favorites “Spotlight” and “The Big Short” Do Not Rate As Highly with Americans

Los Angeles, CA – The Oscars, one of the entertainment industry’s most prestigious awards ceremonies, takes place this Sunday, and Ipsos has asked Americans to cast their ballot for its biggest prize, Best Picture. The study found that American audiences see The Revenant as the leading contender for the award, while critical favorites such as Spotlight and The Big Short struggle in perception among the American public.

The Ipsos survey established that 40% of Americans think The Revenant will take home Best Picture at the 88th Annual Academy Awards. The Martian, at 22% and Mad Max: Fury Road, at 12%, complete the top three.

The study also explored how preferences vary among Americans who have seen each of the films. Overall, 61% of those who saw The Revenant believe it will win Best Picture. Among respondents who have seen none of the nominees, 38% think that The Revenant is the frontrunner, a strong indicator of the perception surrounding that film.

“This is an interesting trend,” says Tom Kelley, Director, U.S., Ipsos Connect. “One in four Americans who haven’t seen The Revenant believe it will win Best Picture, showing the importance that word-of-mouth buzz plays in shaping public opinion.”

The study also looked at how many, and which films specifically, Americans watched this year. Nearly half of the sample, 47% of the respondents, claimed not to have seen any of the films nominated for Best Picture. Nearly one-quarter (24%) had seen just one, 14% had seen two, and 15% had seen three or more. The Martian, this year’s box office leader among the nominees, edged out other contenders for the highest viewership, with 30% having seen it, followed by Mad Max: Fury Road (28%), The Revenant (17%), Bridge of Spies (12%), The Big Short (7%), Brooklyn (6%), Spotlight (5%) and Room (4%).

“Pundits and the media have pointed to conventional films like Spotlight and The Big Short as projected Best Picture winners,” adds Kelley. “Our data on Americans’ perceptions paint a far different picture, with those two critically acclaimed films receiving only 3% and 5%, respectively, of the vote. Those films also have very low viewership levels among our respondents. The Revenant may have an undeniable lead across the board; however, when comparing opinions between the public and across the industry, it’s not so clear after that.

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