Tech Grad Student Studies Oscar Acceptance Speeches, She Really Studies Them!

If there were an Oscar pool for predicting Academy Award winners’ behavior once they wrapped their talented little fingers around the shining validation of their artistry, Georgia Tech master’s student Rebecca Rolfe would be your Bill James.

Rolfe, whose focus is digital media, analyzed more than 60 years of Academy Awards acceptance speeches given by actors, actresses and directors, and identified trends and patterns when it comes to distribution of gratitude. She then turned the data into an interactive website where one can explore who thanked who and whether or not they cried, hoisted the statuette or were interrupted by the conductor. Key takeaway: More people have thanked producer and studio exec Harvey Weinstein than have thanked God.

A “Write Your Own” feature lets you choose from categories such as producers, family, agents and lawyers—maybe throw in a moment of career reflection—and see how your automatic composition compares to those of past winners. Good for fun, great for any procrastinating nominees out there.

Visit the Georgia Tech Newsroom to learn more about the project, which was funded by the Online News Association AP-Google Journalism and Technology Scholarship. It’s sure to make everyone’s (average two-minutes-long) speech more interesting this Sunday.

Above: Sally Field (sadly, not a Tech alumna) delivers her famous “You like me!” acceptance speech at the 1985 Academy Awards.

Leave a Reply