The Golden Globes: How Social Media Predicts Winners

MPAA's nifty online tool claims to foresee winners with 84% accuracy

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Francois Duhamel / Annapurna Productions / Columbia Picures

Who will take home the big prizes at the Golden Globe awards on Sunday, Jan. 12? The Motion Picture Association of America thinks they have the answers.

Best film, musical or comedy? American Hustle.

Best film, drama? 12 Years a Slave, though critics liked Captain Phillips almost as much.

Best TV shows? Either The Good Wife or Breaking Bad might take home the prize for drama, with Girls and The Big Bang Theory duking it out in comedy. The Big Bang Theory also scores a whopping 100% share of today’s buzz on Jan. 10 — even though that huge percentage is probably just an illustration of the social data’s changeability, since that dominance is likely linked to the fact that there was a new episode of TBBT last night.

The MPAA’s The Credits blog has just launched a social app that predicts awards victories — at the Golden Globes, as well as the Oscars and SAG, PGA and DGA awards — using a combination of critical and public response to movies and TV shows. It’s not embeddable, but here’s how it breaks down the race for, for example, best drama:

Screen shot:

Screenshot via

Last year, an earlier version of this program predicted awards winners with 83% accuracy, according to its creators. This year (a collaboration with the social analytics firm Brandwatch), the program has a different user interface and collects more social data, monitoring positive mentions of the competitors in the weeks leading up to the announcement. As a spokesperson for explains to TIME, preset rules used to filter social mentions are able to differentiate between critics and the general public, and to sort out “positive predictions” from general mentions. “It’s not just people talking about Jennifer Lawrence, it’s people saying she did really well,” he explains.

For the Golden Globes, the most interesting take-away from the data presented is that the public and the critics mostly agree, in terms of ranking the movie or TV show itself, but that things can change quickly in response to social monitoring. When this paragraph was first written, the top-ranking item in each category matched — critics and viewers put the same show in #1 — but, by the time it was proofread, that had changed. In other words: stay tuned.

(MORE: What You Need to Know About the Top TV Categories at the Golden Globes)