Rotten Tomatoes

Love it or hate it we all use, or at least occasionally begrudgingly reference, rotten tomatoes. The popular review aggregator website has infiltrated our movie talk worldwide. If something is “Certified Fresh” according to the Tomatometer it is commonly considered a must see and any Tomatometer “Rotten” films are generally considered best avoided. People may be willing to trust the Tomatometer scores to help them make their theater decisions but how well does the Tomatometer do at helping to predict the winner at the academy awards?

In the past two years we’ve been covering the Oscars the Tomatometer has not done great predicting the winners. In 2017 the Tomatometer correctly predicted the winner 38% of the time. Which is only slightly better than guessing would net you. Surprisingly enough of its 8 correctly predicted categories 6 were from the 8 “big” categories. Most of the successes can be attributed to Moonlight having a certified fresh Tomatometer score of 98%.

In 2018 the Tomatometer did even worse only correctly predicting 24% or a measly 5 categories. This time the review aggregator did not correctly predict any of the 8 “big” categories. Looking at these two years the Tomatometer appears to be a completely unreliable resource for correctly predicting Oscar winners. The only category correctly predicted both years was Best Foreign Language Film.

Even if it isn’t a good guide it will be fun to look at the Tomatometer predictions. It should be noted that using aggregated scores to indicate winners leads to the same films winning repeatedly. For example, in 2017 it predicted Moonlight winning every category it was nominated for and this year it predicts Black Panther with its 97% certified fresh score to win every category it is competing in.

The Tomatometer has not done well at predicting Oscar winners in the past and there is no reason to expect this year to be any different. Next we will take a look at rotten tomatoes biggest competition in the world of movie review aggregation and see if you should be using it as a guide for your Academy Award predictions, hopefully it will fare better. However you will likely be better off using previous awards ceremonies to help you make your predictions, you can check out our analysis of that tried and true method here. After you have decided what sources you will trust and which films you think will win the Academy Awards don’t forget to enter our Oscars prediction contest for your chance to win a copy of the Best Picture of Blu-Ray.

CategoryRotten TomatoesMetacriticIMDB
Best PictureBlack PantherRomaGreen Book
Best Actor in a Leading RoleBradley CooperBradley CooperViggo Mortensen
Best Actress in a Leading RoleMelissa McCarthyYalitza AparicioLady Gaga
Best Actor in a Supporting RoleRichard E. GrantSam ElliottMahershala Ali
Best Actress in a Supporting RoleMarina de TaviraMarina de TaviraMarina de Tavira
Best Animated Feature FilmSpider-Man: Into the Spider-VerseSpider-Man: Into the Spider-VerseSpider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
Best CinematographyAlfonso Cuarón, RomaAlfonso Cuarón, RomaMatthew Libatique, A Star is Born
Best Costume DesignRuth E. Carter, Black PantherSandy Powell, The FavouriteSandy Powell, The Favourite
Best DirectorAlfonso Cuarón, RomaAlfonso Cuarón, “Roma”Alfonso Cuarón, “Roma”
Best Documentary FeatureMinding the GapMinding the GapFree Solo
Best Documentary ShortBlack SheepA Night at the GardenEnd Game
Best Documentary ShortBlack SheepA Night at the GardenEnd Game
Best Film EditingBarry Alexander Brown, BlacKkKlansmanYorgos Mavropsaridis, The FavouritePatrick J. Don Vito, Green Book
Best Foreign Language FilmShoplifters (Japan)Roma (Mexico)Capernaum (Lebanon)
Best Makeup and HairstylingBorderBorderBorder
Best Original ScoreBlacKkKlansmanBlacKkKlansmanIsle of Dogs
Best Original Song“All the Stars”, Black Panther“Shallow”, A Star is Born“Shallow”, A Star is Born
Production DesignBlack PantherRomaRoma
Animated Short FilmBaoWeekendsLate Afternoon
Live Action Short FilmMargueriteDetainmentMother
Sound EditingBlack PantherRomaBohemain Rhapsody
Sound MixingBlack PantherRomaBohemain Rhapsody
Visual EffectsFirst ManFirst ManAvengers: Infinity War
Best Adapted ScreenplayCan You Ever Forgive Me?A Star is BornA Star is Born
Best Original ScreenplayRomaRomaGreen Book

Metacritic

Metacritic used to be the go to location for review aggregation, before rotten tomatoes stole center stage. Recently however as rotten tomatoes aggregation methods have come under scrutiny metacritic.com has once again risen to prominence as a review aggregation location for films. Today we pit the two rivals against each other in a brand new way by examining how well they predict the winners at the academy awards. Rotten tomatoes was already examined and did not fare well only predicting an average of 6 categories correctly over the past two years and only correctly predicting the Best Foreign Language Film category both years.

Metacritic has only fared slightly better than the tomatometer in the past two years we’ve been covering the Oscars. In 2017 metacritic correctly predicted the winner 48% of the time correctly predicting the winner in 11 of the 24 categories. Like the tomatometer Moonlight was highly favored with a score of 99 out of 100. Metacritic correctly predicted 7 of the 8 “big” categories only missing in the Best Director category, where it favored Moonlight director Barry Jenkins over award winner Damien Chazelle. Overall Metacritic performed quite well in 2017 at predicting winners in the most popular categories.

In 2018 metacritic trended down with the tomatometer and only correctly predicted 38% or 8 categories. This time the review aggregator only correctly predicted one of the 8 “big” categories, correctly predicting Call Me By Your Name’s win in the Best Adapted Screenplay category. Making that the only category correctly predicted two years in a row. Like the tomatometer, Metacritic appears to be an inconsistent resource for correctly predicting Oscar winners.

Now that we know it is a useless prediction guide what does Metacritic indicate should win this year? Again it should be noted that using aggregated scores to indicate winners leads to the same films winning repeatedly. For example, in 2017 metacritic predicted Moonlight winning every category it was nominated for and this year it predicts Roma with its 96 out of 100 score to win every category it has nominations in. Spoiler: that is a lot of categories.

Metacritic has only done slightly better than the Tomatometer at predicting Oscar winners in the past and there is no reason to expect this year to be any different. Perhaps the problem is that we have been trusting the critics too much, next we will take a look at what the fans have to say on a site that puts user reviews front and center and deemphasizes critic scores for a change. I am not confident though and believe you will likely be better off using previous awards ceremonies to help you make your predictions, you can check out our analysis of that tried and true method here. After you have decided what sources you will trust and which films you think will win the Academy Awards don’t forget to enter our Oscars prediction contest for your chance to win a copy of the Best Picture of Blu-Ray.

IMDb

The International Movie Database or IMDb has just about everything there is to know about almost any movie, including things you probably don’t want to know. Although sometimes controversial IMDb is one of the only major film websites that puts user review scores front and center when viewing films. So do the fans on IMDb.com know better than the critics as we examined them in our rotten tomatoes and Metacritic articles?

Metacritic remains the review aggregation resource to beat for the past two years, but IMDb may be the most consistent when examining the past two years we’ve been covering the Oscars. In 2017 IMDb correctly predicted the winner 38% of the time, tying the tomatometer by correctly predicting the winner in 8 categories. IMDb users only correctly predicted 1 of the 8 “big” categories when they correctly predicting Emma Stone for her La La Land Acting prize, it is notable that the tomatometer and Metacritic also correctly predicted that win. IMDb users did not share the academies animosity towards Mel Gibson and his film Hacksaw Ridge giving it a highly reviewed score of 8.1 leading it to win wherever it appeared and also leading to big misses in a lot of categories.

In 2018 IMDb held constant this time tying Metacritic’s 38% or 8 correctly predicted categories. This time however the IMDb users outdid the review aggregators in predicting the 8 “big” categories by correctly predicting 3 of them, once again succeeding in the best Actress category and this year in both of the supporting acting categories. IMDb users also correctly predicted the winner in the Best Animated Feature, Best Documentary Feature, and Best Original Song categories both years. All of this makes IMDb the most consistent correctly predicting the same 4 categories two years in a row and correctly predicting exactly 8 categories both years as well.

The IMDb users seem to be the most reliable aggregated review predictors we’ve examined yet so let’s take a look at how they predict the contenders to fare at this year’s Academy Awards. First one final reminder that using aggregated scores to indicate winners leads to the same films winning repeatedly. For example, in 2017 IMDb predicted Hacksaw Ridge winning every category it was nominated for and this year it predicts Green Book with its 8.3/10 score to win every category it has nominations in.

Although not great at predicting the Academy Award winners IMDb proved reliable and consistent. Metacritic might perform better than IMDb but its results seems to be quite volatile and Rotten Tomatoes has the same volatility and has a worse prediction track record. If you are going to use a review aggregator to inform your personal predictions we would suggest using IMDb for the Best Actress in a Leading Role, Best Animated Feature, Best Documentary Feature, and Best Original Song categories and then consulting Metacritic and previous awards ceremonies to help you make your predictions in the other categories, you can check out our analysis of that tried and true method here.

After you decided what sources you will trust and which films you think will win the Academy Awards don’t forget to enter our Oscars prediction contest for your chance to win a copy of the Best Picture of Blu-Ray.

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