The Academy Awards are typically the most watched non-sports primetime telecast of the year, with more than 30 million viewers tuning in the United States.

We’ve gathered some popcorn, Sno-Caps, a super-sized soda and some movie research in advance of the big night.





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New Ads Debut

The Academy Awards sold out of ad space two weeks before the telecast, the fastest sell-out ever, according to broadcaster ABC. Twice as many brands as last year are expected to debut new ads. And in contrast with Super Bowl ads, these ads will be female-focused.

MoviePass Disrupts

Ticket sales slumped to a 20-year low last year, but one company, MoviePass, has found a way to keep theater seats warm. The company offers a monthly subscription service (just reduced to $7.95/month), which banks on the premise that moviegoers will go to more movies when they first sign up, but eventually level off their attendance. The business model is especially helpful for independent films.

Handicapping the Winners

Want to win your Oscar pool?  Consider the opinions of Youtube, for most-watched trailers. Or, Fandango’s ticket buyer poll. Or, FiveThirtyEight’s predictions based on analysis of earlier movie awards. Or, the odds from online gambling site Bovada.

How the Voting Works

The Oscars use a system called instant-runoff voting to determine the best picture winner. Voters rank the films from most to least preferred.  If any film was picked first on more than 50% of the ballots, it’s the winner. If not, the film with the fewest number one rankings is dropped from contention, and that film’s ballots are re-ranked with the ballot’s second choice in the top spot. This process continues until one film gets 50% of first place votes, as explained in further detail here and in videos here and here.

Winners Boost Tourism

Travel is a common theme among Academy Award winners and nominees. Over the years, travel-themed movies have included Grand Hotel, It Happened One Night, Around the World in 80 Days, Murder on the Orient Express, Sideways, Lost in Translation, The Accidental Tourist, Up, and others.

Oddly, Pee-wee’s Big Adventure did not receive an Oscar nomination in any category. Nor did Planes, Trains and Automobiles.

The New York Times took a look at the locations for this year’s nominees as tourist destinations.

Paging Dr. Doolittle

While animals haven’t won any Oscars, many have played important roles in Oscar-winning films. Think Toto in The Wizard of Oz, Uggie from The Artist, Orangey from Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Seabiscuit or even the mechanical Bruce from Jaws.

And while The Thin Man didn’t win any of its four nominations, its dog Asta lives on as a common crossword puzzle clue.

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