November 15, 2010 5:51pm PT by Tim Appelo
Flixster Oscar Smackdown: 'Black Swan' vs. 'The Fighter'
Aron Henry, trained in ethnography and anthropology, now uses his people-studying skills as a data diver mining meaning from a fascinating tribe of 30 million users of the social movie site Flixster. The Flixster data works great as a snapshot of how intensely the tribe feels about movies at a given moment. It’s trickier to extrapolate the Flixster data regarding more distant Oscar hopes, but let’s do it anyhow -- for Black Swan and The Fighter.
Based on Flixster users’ “Want to See” votes and photo gallery gawking on their iPhones and Androids, “Interest in The Fighter is skewing male,” says Henry. “Males gave it about twice as many ‘Want to See’ votes as women. It’s pretty evenly split between men over and under 25, though slightly skewing to young males.” Interestingly, though Christian Bale -- as Mark Wahlberg’s lovable screwup crackhead brother -- gets more Oscar-nom predictions from pundits, who tend to think Wahlberg’s less flashy role may get ignored, "there’s considerably more activity around Wahlberg images from the film than Bale’s,” Henry says.
Let’s face it, who grabs your eye in a Flixster photo gallery: buff Wahlberg or gaunt Bale? Bale’s stuck partway between his scary Machinist physique and a normal person. On the other hand, nobody looked scarier than fat De Niro in Raging Bull, so maybe Oscars don’t depend on how you look with your shirt off.
“Black Swan is skewing female, slightly towards older female,” says Henry. “It's about a 3-to-2 ratio of women to men. And there’s slightly more intensity of interest this week in the Black Swan column than the Fighter column.” Check THR’s Risky Business column for Flixster’s weekly “Want-to-See” Ratings for Upcoming Films, which can be scarily relevant to the movie weather each weekend.