Dashboards and Data Viz | Design

Dashboard Passion Projects: Visualizing the Nominees for Best Picture

In 2017, when Oscar nomination time rolled around, a colleague and I got the idea to make a dashboard that could attempt to predict the Best Picture winner. While, as a data visualization company, we’re not typically in the business of making Oscar predictions, we couldn’t resist the idea of trying to predict the winner with data. We are both total cinephiles, and the Academy Awards is one event that gets the whole office buzzing. Our goal was to get near the subjective, yet seemingly pattern-driven, nature of nominations and eventual winners.

As it turned out, neither our Oscars dashboard (nor Warren Beatty) could accurately predict Moonlight’s historic win. Still, the exercise was too much fun not to repeat, so when the nominees were announced on January 21st, I jumped at the opportunity. I mean, it’s the 90th Annual Academy Awards – how could I not?

There was just one problem – that colleague was no longer able to help out with the construction of the dashboard. I was left to update the dashboard all on my own. Now, I do a lot of writing about our product, but truth be told I’ve not spent much time actually inside the iDashboards interface. I’ve assisted with storyboarding, design, even KPI development for some of our dashboard examples, but this would be the first time I would be recreating a dashboard from data set to deployment. There was some nervousness, I can’t deny it.

Fortunately, my jitters were unfounded. The rumors are true, folks – iDashboards is as user friendly as we purport it to be, and that’s coming from someone who has seen 1000% more movie sequels than SQL databases. Once I got into the research and the numbers, the dashboard started coming together far more easily than anticipated.

Oscars Dashboard

Click here to interact with the live dashboard!

The Best Picture Winner projection element is based on the following 5 metrics:

  • Box Office (source: IMDB.com)
  • Director “Score” (i.e. how many films they’ve made)
  • Leading Roles (i.e. how many films the two stars have made)
  • Media Buzz (Google Trend data)
  • Critic Review (source: MetaCritic)

For last year’s Oscar Predictor dashboard, the only financial number we looked at was Box Office take. However, this year, I was also interested in the ROI of the nominated movies. This was a new metric from last year’s dashboard, but a relatively simple one to calculate after I located the original budget for each film. The most interesting finding from this line of data inquiry was the steep difference in ROI between The Post and Get Out. While my Oscar Winner Predictor engine is certain that The Post will win (no matter how the factors are weighted), the film had a negative ROI at the time the nominations were announced. Get Out, on the other hand, has an incredibly ROI of 3,410%, meaning the film has made its money back more than 35 times over since its release on February 24th, 2017.

I made a few aesthetic adjustments to this year’s dashboard, too. While last year’s dashboard required the user to scroll through to see the poster for each film, this version displays all 9 films at once, as well as an enlarged version of the film you’re seeing the details of. I also moved the Oscar predictor engine to the bottom of the dashboard, and made the movie trivia more front and center. This is based on end user experience; there are more interactive elements and things to learn in the movie trivia section.

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I also wanted to highlight the secondary dashboard more this year, so I devoted a whole side panel to the “button”. The button is actually a drill down function – with iDashboards, you can not only drill down into charts or graphs, but entire dashboards or external webpages. This second Oscars dashboard is chock full of more trivia about the nominated films and their stars. You can see where the stars of each film were born, which genres are represented in this year’s batch of nominees, and even compare the Google Trend search data of each film over the last three months.

Oscar Best Picture Nominations Prediction Data


One of the cool things about dashboards is that they’re not static creations. They thrive when they’re tweaked and adjusted, and even simple design changes can have an enormous impact. That’s why iDashboards offers quarterly dashboard “tune-ups” to all of our customers. One of our dashboard experts can help you and your team get a fresh perspective on ways to brush up your data visualizations. It’s a great (and free) way to check in with your dashboards and make any adjustments that could improve the user experience or comprehension of your data.

I had so much fun perfecting the look and feel of this dashboard, and my hope is that it is as much fun for you to interact with. What are your predictions for Best Picture this year? Let me know in the comments below, or hit us up on social media @iDashboards!

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Jennifer Horne Sr. Digital Marketing Coordinator @iDashboards

Jennifer Horne handles SEO, PPC, content and digital marketing for iDashboards. She has won multiple 30 Rock trivia competitions, makes a mean green curry, and loves living in Detroit.


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