The Help Should Win the Oscar for Best Picture It is almost that time again; time to see what people are wearing as well as who says what in their acceptance speeches. Also, this year it’s the return of Billy Crystal as host. Yes, it’s Oscar time and while the world won’t know until this Sunday who actually wins these awards, here are who Americans think should win some of the top honors.

This year, one in five Americans (21%) believes that The Help should win the Academy Award for best picture while one in ten (9%) say the Oscar should go to War Horse. Next on the list is Moneyball (7%) followed by The Artist (6%), Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (5%) and The Descendants (5%). Small percentages believe the Oscar should go to Hugo (3%), Midnight in Paris (3%) and The Tree of Life (2%). One-third of Americans (34%) are not sure who the best picture Oscar should go to this year and 6% say it should go to none of the nominated films.

These are some of the results of The Harris Poll of 2,239 adults surveyed online between February 13 and 15, 2012 by Harris Interactive.

There is a bit of a gender difference for best picture. For women, it is clear as three in ten (29%) say The Help should win best picture. Men are a little more divided as 13% say The Help but 12% say Moneyball.

Best Actor and Actress

When it comes to the best actor statue, almost one quarter of Americans (23%) say George Clooney should win for The Descendants followed by 16% who say Brad Pitt should win for his role in Moneyball. One in ten (10%) believe the Oscar should go to Gary Oldman for Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, followed by 7% who say Jean Dujardin should win for his role in The Artist and 1% who believe the award should go to Dimian Bichr for A Better Life. Just over one-third of Americans (35%), however, say they are not sure who should win the best actor Oscar and 7% believe none of the nominated actors should win.

For best actress, there are two actresses at the top as 23% of Americans believe Viola Davis should win for her role in The Help while 22% think the award should go to Meryl Streep for her portrayal of The Iron Lady. One in ten believe Rooney Mara should win for The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (11%), followed by Michelle Williams for My Week with Marilyn (7%) and Glenn Close for Albert Nobbs (4%). Three in ten Americans (28%) are not sure who should win the Academy Award for best actress while 5% say none of the nominees should win.

Who will be watching?

One thing the Academy Awards have struggled with over the past few years is who should host the show. This year they even had a host and then had to scramble to find his replacement. So, they went back a few years to Billy Crystal. And, it may have been the right move as half of Americans (50%) believe he will be better compared to hosts from the previous few years while 26% say he will be neither better nor worse. Less than one in twenty (4%) think he will be worse than the hosts from pervious few years’ telecasts while one in five (20%) are not at all sure.

There is also always the question of who is watching. As the shows drag on and on and producers struggle to find ways to keep the show entertaining, there is concern about lost viewers. Just over half of Americans (54%) say they will watch the Oscars this year while 46% say they will not.

So what?

These questions ask who Americans believe should win the Academy Awards and fan favorites and box office receipts play a large role in these choices. While The Help may be the audience’s favorite, The Artist has been picking up all the critical acclaim so far this award season. By Monday morning, we’ll be able to see who is right.


This Harris Poll was conducted online within the United States between February 13 and 15, 2012 among 2,239 adults (aged 18 and over). Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online.

All sample surveys and polls, whether or not they use probability sampling, are subject to multiple sources of error which are most often not possible to quantify or estimate, including sampling error, coverage error, error associated with nonresponse, error associated with question wording and response options, and post-survey weighting and adjustments. Therefore, Harris Interactive avoids the words “margin of error” as they are misleading. All that can be calculated are different possible sampling errors with different probabilities for pure, unweighted, random samples with 100% response rates. These are only theoretical because no published polls come close to this ideal.

Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in Harris Interactive surveys. The data have been weighted to reflect the composition of the adult population. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to participate in the Harris Interactive panel, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

These statements conform to the principles of disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.

The results of this Harris Poll may not be used in advertising, marketing or promotion without the prior written permission of Harris Interactive.

The Harris Poll ® #21, February 22, 2012
By Regina A. Corso, SVP, Harris Poll, Public Relations and Youth and Education Research, Harris Interactive

About Harris Interactive

Harris Interactive is one of the world’s leading custom market research firms, leveraging research, technology, and business acumen to transform relevant insight into actionable foresight. Known widely for the Harris Poll and for pioneering innovative research methodologies, Harris offers expertise in a wide range of industries including healthcare, technology, public affairs, energy, telecommunications, financial services, insurance, media, retail, restaurant, and consumer package goods. Serving clients in over 215 countries and territories through our North American and European offices and a network of independent market research firms, Harris specializes in delivering research solutions that help us – and our clients – stay ahead of what’s next. For more information, please visit

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