Letterboxd and the Oscar nominees

Letterboxd is a great new(ish) service for film lovers. I’ve been using it for about 6 months to keep a diary of the films I’ve watched, the films I want to see and on the odd occasion to write a review. At the end of the year Letterboxd published a 2012 round-up that included the highest (and lowest) rated films. With the Oscar nominations out last week I thought it would be interesting to do a comparison. How will the shortlist for some of the major categories compare to the Letterboxd users’ picks?

Best Picture vs. Highest Rated Film
Nine films are on the shortlist for the coveted award of Best Picture at the Oscars. Only two of them appear in positions 1-9 on the list of highest rated films by Letterboxd users; Amour (at no.3) and Argo (at no.5). There is always talk of Oscar snubs, and this year in the Best Picture category the films being mentioned are Moonrise Kingdom, The Master and Skyfall. All three appear in the Letterboxd users list of highest rated films, in the order you see them here at numbers 2, 7 and 8, respectively. For me the biggest title missing is Intouchables. It didn’t get a nod for Best Pitcure or Best Foreign Language Film, which in my view is a crime. Appearing at number 1 in the highest rated films it seems my fellow Letterboxd users would agree with me.

Best Documentary Feature vs. Highest Rated Documentary
Only 1 of the 5 films from the Oscar shortlist for this category appear in positions 1-5 on the Letterboxd users list. That film is Searching for Sugar Man. Another Oscar nominee, The Invisible War appears at no.7 in the top 10 on Letterboxd. I’ve got nothing really to say about this, as I’ve not seen any of the ten films (that’s shocking isn’t it). So here’s the full comparison for you:

Oscar nominees Letterboxd users’ list
5 Broken Camera
The Gatekeepers
How to Survive a Plague
The Invisible War
Searching for Sugar Man
The Imposter
Searching for Sugar Man
Jiro Dreams of Sushi
Indie Game

Best Animated Feature vs. Highest Rated Animated Film
This category has the most crossover, with 4 out of 5 nominees making it into the Letterboxd users highest rated list. Those films (in order of appearance) are Wreck-It Ralph, ParaNorman, Frankenweenie and Brave. The difference comes with The Pirates! Band of Misfits which got an Oscar nod but doesn’t appear on the Letterboxd list; in its place is Arietty.

What I think this comparison shows us is the difference between the views of the Academy and the film-going public. I’d love to be able to do a greater comparison with more categories, but there weren’t any others that crossed-over so well.

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I am a freelance writer, editor and trainer. A librarian in a former life.

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