Why this movie could take home best picture at this year’s Academy Awards

Were the Osage Tribe as depicted in Killers of the Flower Moon drinking coffee?  Photo: Apple TV+

Were the Osage Tribe as depicted in Killers of the Flower Moon drinking coffee? Photo: Apple TV+

A study by US-based coffee bean company has predicted the most likely winner of best picture at the 96th Academy Awards next month based on a mathematical model of brand placement.

Based in Las Vegas, online company Cafely commissioned digital PR company Storible to find out whether films with a lot of coffee scenes were most likely to win an Oscar, rather than those films which didn’t.

Long shot, yes.

Are the Academy’s voting members – who have until February 27 to nominate best film – aware that this is a thing?

Probably not.

“In the study, we used the presence of coffee on screen to forecast the winner of the 2024 Best Picture … applying the Linear Regression model,” explains Storible’s head researcher, Mark Johnson.

The model requires you to calculate the number of times coffee appeared in the film and whether or not that film won an Oscar.

“Each additional coffee scene increases a movie’s chances of winning an Oscar by 26.52 per cent,” he said.

The ideal number of coffee features for a film to win an Oscar is eight, he says, and closer the number of coffee scenes is to the threshold, the higher the probability of winning best film.

Counting the cups

Loaded with a stack of coffee to get through the assignment, Johnson and his team tapped into a product placement internet database  – – and studied the films with coffee features and the number of coffee scenes in each film.

“We then checked if these films won any Oscars by scraping data from IMDB between 2002 and 2022. This information was then used to calculate the impact of coffee on a film’s chances of winning an Oscar and predict the Best Picture winner for this year,” he explains.

Lily Gladstone and Leonardo DiCaprio give tragic and compelling performances in a story of betrayal, murder and conspiracy. Photo: Apple TV+

Product placement for Scorsese’s masterpiece

Wheaties cereals were placed six times, Stetson hats 37 times, Lucky Strike cigarettes a whopping 59 times and Dodge Brothers motor vehicles, three times.

But it’s generic unbranded coffee placement – six times – that makes director Martin Scorsese’s historic epic, Killers of the Flower Moon, the most likely winner of this year’s best film.

Further data from the researchers concludes that featuring coffee brand Starbucks boosts a movie’s Oscar chances by 20.3 per cent and, importantly, coffee appears in 30 per cent of Oscar winners.

“Based on the number of coffee appearances, we predict that
the winner of Best Picture this year will be Killers of the Flower Moon,” Johnson concludes.

Other best film nominations

Brand placement in films has long been a source of amusement for audiences, and a serious business strategy for companies (otherwise known as embedded marketing).

Placement of lollies in ET, Tom Cruise’s sunglasses in Risky Business, to Aston Martin sports cars and Omega watches in the James Bond films.

US actor Pierce Brosnan, who played Bond four times in the multi-billion-dollar franchise, once said: “There’s always been product placement in Bond films”.

This year’s contenders for best picture all have product placements, but none have as many generic coffee placements as Scorsese’s film.

Barbie has a whopping 78 product placements including Levis denim, Igloo coolers, GMC Hummer EV electric SUVs, Gallant boxing bags, SMEG toasters and Crocs.

It only has one coffee placement.

Predictably, fantasy Frankenstein-esque film starring Oscar-nominated actress Emma Stone, Poor Things, has zero product placements but four coffee appearances.

For product placement, Oppenheimer has Time Magazine, Coca-Cola, Coors and Budweiser beer while Maestro has three products, mainly tequila, while The Holdovers had 34 including Slazenger tennis balls, Pepsi vending machines and Old Spice cologne.

However, it doesn’t always need a name …  just a coffee will do!

According to Hollywood predictor, Gold Derby, Oppenheimer currently sits at the top of the table for winning best picture at 13/2, with Killers of the Flower Moon coming in a close second at 15/2.

Coffee might just be the difference in this year’s race.

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