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Oscars Gold: Award Clips Drive More Interest Than Trailers, Especially With Younger Audiences


What impact does winning a “Big Four” Oscar have on audience interest in a film? Swayable's real-time research found that Oscars clips, particularly those featuring acceptance speeches, are significantly more effective at driving movie interest and intent than a standard trailer.

Key Findings

  • Oscars clips outperform trailers: Clips from the Oscars ceremony, especially Best Actor and Best Picture speeches, increased film interest and intent by a larger margin than the official trailer.
  • The effect is strongest among non-Oscar viewers: The persuasive power of Oscars clips is even stronger for those who don't typically watch the awards show.
  • Younger audiences prefer speeches, while older ones prefer summaries: Gen-Z and Millennials responded better to actual acceptance speeches, while viewers over age 59 favored a video summarizing the awards won.
  • Oscars clips drive rewatches: For those who had already seen Oppenheimer, only the Oscars clips increased their desire to rewatch the film.
  • Oscars clips highlight awards and good reviews: Audiences who saw the Oscars clips were more likely to cite "Good Reviews" and "Won Lots of Awards" as reasons to watch Oppenheimer. Trailers focused more on plot and visuals.
  • Oscars clips increase willingness to pay: Only the Oscars clips convinced viewers to spend more to stream Oppenheimer.

Oscars clips move audiences more than a standard trailer

Oppenheimer took home 7 Oscars, including 3 of the so-called “Big Four”: Best Picture, Best Actor, and Best Director. While Oppenheimer won with the Academy voters, a key question is whether these awards drive increased movie interest and intent among audiences. We ran a randomized controlled trial testing various clips from Oscars night, a summary of the awards won, and the 2-minute official Oppenheimer trailer against an unbiased control group. 3,825 respondents were included in the test. Our key metric was “Film Interest and Intent”, which asked respondents whether they were interested in seeing Oppenheimer and whether they plan to do so within the month:

We found that the Oscars clips often had a significantly better impact than a standard trailer.

In our test, the Official Trailer increased Film Interest & Intent by +7 points, but several Oscars clips performed significantly better. In particular, the Best Actor and Best Picture clips had a +13 point and +9 point impact. 

This effect was especially strong among non-Oscars watchers. Non-Oscar viewers who saw the Official Trailer were only moved by +8 points. In contrast, the Best Actor and Best Picture clips moved these viewers by +15 and +10 points, respectively. 

Younger audiences preferred the speeches, while older viewers preferred a summary

In addition to the clips from the Oscars, we also tested a fan-made edit that listed all the awards won by Oppenheimer, superimposed over a clip from the film. This video was not at all persuasive among Gen-Z and Millennial audiences, whereas the Oscar clips with acceptance speeches were. The Best Actor clip had a +11 point impact among Gen-Z and Millennial audiences. The Best Picture clip had a +9 point impact among Gen-Z and +5 point among Millennials. 

In contrast, the Award Listing video was more persuasive to age 59+ audiences than the actual Oscar acceptance speeches. The summary video led to a +23 point impact among the Boomer generation and +32 points among audiences aged 79+. Perhaps older audiences are more used to traditional advertising, whereas younger audiences are more comfortable with seemingly “organic” moments. 

Only Oscars clips persuaded people to re-watch Oppenheimer

Among audiences that have already seen Oppenheimer, the Oscars clips had a large impact on increasing intent to rewatch the film. The Official Trailer had no effect on this audience. In comparison, both the Oscars clips and the Official Trailer had significant effects at increasing intent to watch among people who have never seen Oppenheimer

Oscars Clips provide new reasons to see Oppenheimer

When asked what are some reasons why they would want to see Oppenheimer, respondents that saw the Oscars clips were significantly moved toward the “Good Reviews” and “Won Lots of Awards” choices. In comparison, the respondents that saw the standard trailer were moved toward “Interesting Plot” and “Strong Visuals.” The Oscars clips bring a new dimension to why audiences might be interested. Whereas the trailers typically focus on plot and visuals, the Oscars clips a new reason to see this movie. 

Oscars clips increased willingness to spend on streaming Oppenheimer at home

Finally, we asked respondents how much they would be willing to pay to rent Oppenheimer at home. We offered 3 choices: $3, $5, and $7. We found that only the Oscars clips were able to move audiences to pay more. The standard trailer had no effect against the control group. The Best Actor and Best Picture clips both increased the share of people willing to spend $7 by +8 points. This effect held for all respondents as well as the audiences who have not yet seen Oppenheimer


This research demonstrates that the Oscars can have a significant impact on a film's commercial success beyond simply awarding trophies.  Trailers can pique initial interest, but Oscars clips can create a deeper connection with viewers, especially younger audiences, leading to an increased desire to watch or rewatch the film and even a willingness to pay more for it.

Lastly, thank you to Latham Arneson, whose Substack and advice served as a jumping-off point for this research. We highly encourage anyone interested in film marketing to join his Substack community, What's In Theaters


This monadic RCT survey experiment was conducted on Swayable over 12 hours between March 10 and 11 with responses from 3,825 U.S. consumers. Questions were asked of a general population sample aged 18+, using Swayable’s proprietary online platform. 

The sample frame is U.S. smartphone users in all 50 states with active internet connections who are users of popular mobile and web apps that make up Swayable’s network of respondent partners. Respondents are solicited from partner apps with non-monetary reward offers for their participation. Respondents were recruited with an approximately even ratio of men and women imposed via separate quotas for each. This is a “non-probability sample” (in the conventional terminology of public opinion research, although this team’s position is that this concept is not meaningful since truly random sampling of the population is not possible via any methodology). To correct for over/under-sampling, all samples are post-stratified to the general U.S. population using cross-tabulations accounting for factors including age, ethnicity, gender, educational attainment and geography, based on the latest available data from the U.S. Census Bureau and Swayable’s proprietary population modeling. Margins of error quoted are based on response distribution statistics and sample sizes and are calculated independently for each given result.

This research was conducted and self-funded by Swayable.