In the race for Best Picture Oscar, there is no clear "runaway" hit according to the American public. One in five U.S. adults (19%) say Letters from Iwo Jima should win the Oscar for Best Picture, while 13 percent each say the Oscar should go to The Departed and Little Miss Sunshine. Eight percent of adults say The Queen should win Best Picture and four percent say the award should go to Babel. The largest groups, however, are the 20 percent who say none of the nominated movies should win, and the 21 percent who are not sure. Though the nominated movies may have critical acclaim, it appears that mass popular appeal has eluded them.
Over one-quarter (27%) of those in the West say Letters from Iwo Jima should win, while the rest of the country is much more evenly divided. A different front-runner emerges among those who say they are planning to watch the Oscars this year also. One in five Oscar watchers say The Departed should win, while 17 percent say it should be Little Miss Sunshine, and 16 percent say the award should go to Letters from Iwo Jima.
These are some of the results of a nationwide Harris Poll of 1,013 U.S. adults surveyed by telephone by Harris Interactive between February 6 and 12, 2007.
In the race for Best Actor there is a clear favorite, with 38 percent saying Will Smith should win for The Pursuit of Happyness. Thirteen percent each say the Oscar should go to Forest Whitaker for The Last King of Scotland and Leonardo DiCaprio for Blood Diamond. Veteran actor Peter O'Toole is next as seven percent say he should win for his role in Venus, while one percent believes Ryan Gosling should win for his role in Half Nelson. Over two in five (44%) Oscar watchers also say Will Smith should win the Oscar, followed by Leonardo DiCaprio (20%).
One-quarter (26%) say the Oscar should go to Meryl Streep for The Devil Wears Prada, while 18 percent say it should go to Helen Mirren for The Queen. Further down the list, nine percent each say the award should go to Kate Winslet for Little Children and Penelope Cruz for Volver and five percent say Judi Dench should take home the Oscar for Notes on a Scandal. Of those who say they will watch the Oscars this year, 31 percent say the Best Actress award should go to Meryl Streep and 29 percent believe it should go to Helen Mirren.
The choice of host tends to get almost as much scrutiny as the awards themselves. With Ellen DeGeneres hosting this year, about two-thirds (67%) of adults say it makes no difference in their decision to watch the Oscars, while 17 percent say it will make them more likely to watch and 15 percent say it will make them less likely to watch. One-quarter (24%) of women, however, say the choice will make them more likely to watch as do one-third of those who say they are going to watch the Oscars.
Watching the Oscars
More than two in five (43%) U.S. adults say they are planning to watch the Oscars this year, while just over half (54%) say they are not planning on watching. Perhaps not surprisingly, Oscar viewers are more likely to be female than male, with over half of women (52%) expecting to watch, while almost two-thirds of men (64%) expect not to watch.
Why do people watch the Oscars? More than half (54%) of those who planning to watch the Oscars say it is because they enjoy movies and like to see the recognition, while 46 percent say they watch to see the actors and the actresses. One-third (32%) say they always watch them, three in 10 tune in for the fashions and 29 percent say they just love award shows. On the flip side, 38 percent of those who are not planning to watch say it is because they don't enjoy watching award shows, while just under one-quarter (23%) don't watch the Oscars because they don't watch many movies. One in five (18%) say they don't watch because the show is just too long, 16 percent say it is because they always forget they are on and 11 percent don't watch the Oscars because they don't know any of the actors and actresses.
Other results from The Harris Poll are:
*) Education plays a role in the choice for Best Actor and Best Actress winners. Over one-quarter (26%) of those with a post graduate education think Forest Whitaker should win Best Actor and the same number think Helen Mirren should win Best Actress;
*) There is a generational difference in who will watch the Oscars. Just under half of Echo Boomers (those ages 18 to 30) and Generation X (those ages 31 to 42) (48% each) are planning on watching, while 43 percent of Baby Boomers (those ages 43 to 61) and just one-third (32%) of Matures (those ages 62 and older) will watch;
*) Seven in 10 (71%) of those in the West who are planning to watch the Oscars say this is because they enjoy the movies and like to see them get recognition;
*) One-third (32%) of Echo Boomers don't watch the Oscars because they always forget they are on, while two in five Matures (39%) don't watch because they don't watch many movies.
The Harris Poll was conducted by telephone within the United States between February 6 and 12, 2007 among a nationwide cross section of 1,013 adults (aged 18 and over). Figures for age, sex, race, education, number of adults, number of voice/telephone lines in the household, region and size of place were weighted where necessary to align them with their actual proportions in the population.
In theory, with a probability sample of this size, one can say with 95 percent certainty that the results of the overall sample have a sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points of what they would be if the entire U.S. adult population had been polled with complete accuracy. Sampling error for the sub-sample results is higher and varies. Unfortunately, there are several other possible sources of error in all polls or surveys that are probably more serious than theoretical calculations of sampling error. They include refusals to be interviewed (nonresponse), question wording and question order, interviewer bias, weighting by demographic control data and screening (e.g., for likely voters). It is impossible to quantify the errors that may result from these factors.