The Oscars: analyzing 22,000 news stories using Natural Language Processing & Text Analysis

The Oscars: analyzing 22,000 news stories using Natural Language Processing & Text Analysis


The 89th Academy Awards, better known as the Oscars, took place in Los Angeles over the weekend with Hollywood’s finest walking the famed red carpet with hopes of taking home the movie industry’s most prestigious award.

With an event of such magnitude and popularity naturally comes a whole lot of hype and media commentary, both on social media and in the news. Today we’re going to take a look at the latter by leveraging the power of Natural Language Processing and Text Analysis to analyze and gather insights from news content relating to the Oscars.

In doing so, we’ve used the AYLIEN News API to collect and analyze news stories, and Tableau to visualize our results.

How did the media react to the Oscars?

To begin, we wanted to see how the Oscars affected news publication volumes. In doing so, we looked at the Movies category for the month of February and graphed the daily story volumes below;

Daily story publication volumes: Movies category

As you can see, there is a clear spike is story volumes around on the day of the event, and on the days around it. On the day the Awards took place, we see a 350% increase in story volumes compared to the average day in February.

Which publishers produced the most Oscars-related content?

Next we looked at the sources of all Oscars-related news content published in February to uncover the most active publishers.

Note: You can hover over each individual bubble to see precise story volumes.

Story volume per publisher

Which Oscars-related stories were shared most on social media?

We analyzed share counts from Facebook, LinkedIn and Reddit to see what type of content is performing best on each channel.


  1. What We Lose When We Give Awards to Men Like Casey Affleck (Elle. 53,327 shares)
  2. Katherine Johnson, real-life subject of ‘Hidden Figures’ receives standing ovation at Oscars (ABC News. 48,155 shares)


  1. PwC issues apology after Oscars best picture envelope mistake (The Guardian. 1,354 shares)
  2. PwC Partner at Oscars Tweeted Backstage Minutes Before Best Picture Mix-Up (Wall Street Journal. 1,253 shares)


  1. Trump Lashes Out at New York Times Ad Set to Air on the Oscars Tonight (Ad Week. 15,507 points)
  2. Lagerfeld: Meryl Streep Passed On Oscar Dress When Chanel Refused to Pay (WWD. 6,962 points)

It’s interesting to see the different types of content that is shared most on each social network. Facebook users tend to share stories that are perhaps written with the intention of generating an emotional response. While LinkedIn, being a professional network, focuses on stories relating to organizations, in this case PwC who were at the center of an embarrassing mix-up at the Oscars.

Which Best Picture nominees were mentioned most in the news?

We analyzed the nine nominees for Best Picture from February 1 to just before the event to see which movies were receiving the most attention in the press, before the results were announced.

Most mentioned movies prior to the event

Not only was La La Land the favourite to win the Best Picture Oscar, it was also the most mentioned of the nine nominees in the news in the lead up to the Awards. The actual winner, Moonlight, was perhaps surprisingly only the fifth most mentioned out of the nine nominees.

Which individuals were mentioned most in the news?

As one of the entertainment industry’s showcase annual events, the Academy Awards is never short of big name actors, celebrities and performers.

By extracting mentions of people from our analyzed news content we can see which individuals received the most media attention.

Most mentioned individuals in Oscars-related news content

At the top of our most-mentioned list is Best Actress winner Emma Stone and Awards host Jimmy Kimmel. It’s perhaps interesting to note the position of Best Actor winner Casey Affleck, who came in as just the seventh most mentioned individual.

In case you’re wondering about the appearance of Donald Trump here, he got a bit of a roasting on the night by Jimmy Kimmel! Let’s now take a look at the media’s reaction to the host’s performance.

Jimmy Kimmel: Hit or Miss?

Using Sentiment Analysis we can uncover whether an article has been written in a positive, negative or neutral way. To analyze the media’s reaction to Jimmy Kimmel, we only retrieved stories that mentioned him in the title. We find that this significantly increases the chances that the story (or at least the majority of it) is about the individual in question, rather than just mentioning him in the body text of the article

Here’s what we found;

News media reaction to Oscars host Jimmy Kimmel


We hope that this post has given you an idea of the kind of in-depth and precise analyses that our News API users are performing to source and analyze specific news content that is of interest to them.

Ready to try the News API for yourself? Simply click the image below to sign up for a 14-day free trial.

News API - Sign up

Let's Talk