The 88th Academy Awards will be given out Sunday, Feb. 28.
There’s no lack of sites to analyze the Oscar nominated movies and predict winners. For our part, we’re focusing on the best and most thought-provoking visualizations of the Oscars and film in general. As you prepare for the red carpet to roll out, searchlights to shine in the skies, and celebrities to pose for the camera, check out these original visualizations.
Big Movies, Big Hits
Data scientist Seth Kadish of Portland, Ore., trained his graphing powers on the biggest hits of the Oscars – the 85 movies (so far) that were nominated for 10 or more awards.
He presented his findings in a handsome variation on the bubble chart, plotting numbers of nominations against Oscars won, and how many films fall into each category. (Spoiler alert: However many awards you’re nominated for, you can generally expect to win about half.)
As you can see from the chart, “Titanic” is unchallenged as the biggest Academy Award winner to date, with 14 nominations and 11 Oscars won. You can also see that “The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King” had the largest sweep in Oscars history, winning in all 11 of the categories in which it was nominated. “Ben-Hur” and “West Side Story” had nearly as high a win rate, 11 out of 12 awards and 10 out of 11, respectively.
On the downside, “True Grit,” “American Hustle,” and “Gangs of New York” were the biggest losers – all of them got 10 nominations but didn’t win anything.
Visualizing Indie Film ROI
Seed & Spark, a platform for crowdfunding independent films, teamed up with the information design agency Accurat to create a series of gorgeous 3-D visualizations in the article “Selling at Sundance,” which looked at the return on investment 40 recent indie movies saw at the box office. (The movies in question, pitched from 2011 to 2013, included “Austenland,” “Robot and Frank,” and “The Spectacular Now.”)
The correlations themselves are thought-provoking – especially when you realize how few movies sell for more than they cost to make. But even more valuable, in our opinion, is the behind-the-scenes explanations the Accurat team supplied on Behance of how they built these visualizations – “(giving) a shape to otherwise boring numbers.”
The Accurat designers (Giorgia Lupi, Simone Quadri, Gabriele Rossi, and Michele Graffieti) wanted to display the correlation between three values: production budget, sale price, and box office gross. After some experimentation, they decided to represent each movie as a cone-shaped, solid stack of circles, with shading representing budget at the top to sale price at the top; the stack’s height represents the box office take.
They dress up their chart with sprinklings of other interesting data, such as the length, setting (historical, modern-day, or sci-fi/fantasy), and number of awards each movie won. This demonstrated that awards didn’t do much to drive box office receipts; even winning an Oscar doesn’t guarantee a profit, Accurat notes.
Because the “elevator pitch” – describing the movie’s concept in just a few words, e.g. “It’s like ‘Casablanca’ in a dystopian Martian colony” – is so important, they also created a tag cloud of the 25 most common keywords used on IMDB.com to describe the movies they analyzed.
The visualization was published in hard copy in the pilot issue of Bright Ideas Magazine, which was launched at the 2014 Sundance Film Fest.
Movie Color Spectrums
One of our favorite Oscars is Production Design. It honors the amazing work to create rich, immersive environments that help carry you away to a hobbit-hole, Regency ballroom, 1950s department store, or post-apocalyptic wasteland. And color palettes are a key part of the creative effect.
Dillon Baker, an undergraduate design student at the University of Washington, has come up with an innovative way to see all the colors of a movie. He created a Java-based program that analyzes each frame of a movie for its average color, then compresses that color into a single vertical line. They get compiled into a timeline that shows the entire work’s range of colors.
The effect is mesmerizing. Displayed as a spectrum, the color keys pop out at you – vivid reds, blues, and oranges for “Aladdin,” greenish ‘70s earth tones for “Moonrise Kingdom,” and Art Deco shades of pink and brown for “The Grand Budapest Hotel.” You can also see scene and tone changes – for example, below you see the dark, earthy hues for Anna and Kristoff’s journey through the wilderness in “Frozen,” contrasted with Elsa’s icy pastels.
Baker, who is a year away from his bachelor’s degree, is still coming up with possible applications for his color visualization technology. (Agricultural field surveying? Peak wildflower prediction? Fashion trend tracking?)
Meanwhile, another designer is using a combination of automated color analysis tools and her own aesthetics to extract whole color palettes from a single movie or TV still.
Graphic designer Roxy Radulescu comes up with swatches of light, medium, dark, and overall palettes, focusing on a different work each week in her blog Movies in Color. In an interview, she talks about how color reveals mood, character, and historical era, and guides the viewer’s eye. Which is not far from the principles of good information design!
Recent Data Driven Digests:
February 15: Love is All Around http://blogs.opentext.com/love-around-data-driven-digest/
February 10: Visualizing Unstructured Content http://blogs.opentext.com/visualizing-unstructured-analysis-data-driven-digest/
January 29: Are You Ready for Some Football? http://blogs.opentext.com/ready-football-data-driven-digest/