It’s Hollywood’s biggest night, and its most talked about. We took a look at the data to see what drove the most attention and engagement at the 2019 Oscars.

The 91st Academy Awards ceremony was not without controversy in the run-up to the event. Kevin Hart dropped out as host of the 2019 Oscars months before due to comments that resurfaced on social media, and the awards show took the novel approach of deciding to go hostless for the first time in decades.

If the initial ratings are anything to go by, it seems to have paid off, with the numbers up around 11 percent after consecutive years of declining viewership. And it was generally agreed on social that, given the circumstances, this was a successful night for all involved.

But what were the stories that really resonated with the watching public? Which winners got the most attention, and who was left with nothing but a golden statue?

The top web stories of the 2019 Oscars

The top web stories were mostly about the winners, with Rami Malek leading the pack. Lad Bible’s story about him winning the Best Actor category for his portrayal of Queen frontman Freddie Mercury in Bohemian Rhapsody was the most engaged story of any at the Oscars, garnering almost half a million engagements.

The story of the night though, and we will see this continue when we look at the top Facebook Posts, was Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper’s intimate rendition of their eventual Oscar winner Shallow from Cooper’s A Star is Born. HuffPost and Delish both covered this among the top ten stories, but there was also a lot of coverage of this story further down the list as well, picking up high engagement in many of them.

Beyond these success stories, diversity in film resonated, with Black Panther’s awards being celebrated in a variety of places, as did more general coverage and winners lists, which appeared twice in the top ten.
The Oscars rarely escape criticism, and this was true again here, with the Babylon Bee’s satirical piece about wealthy privileged people lecturing others about the evils of wealth and privilege the seventh most engaged article of the night.

Looking at the top publishers for the evening, HuffPost stood out from its peers with over 800,000 engagements, closely followed by the Daily Mail and the Lad Bible, both of whom garnered more than half a million engagements with their coverage.

While the beginning of this list looks like a list of the usual suspects in the mainstream space, there are also some entertainment focused publishers such as E! Online and People, and some unexpected ones such as

But it’s not all about the web content, what about Facebook native posts?

The top Facebook posts of the 2019 Oscars

The top Facebook Posts of the Oscars were in some ways a continuation of what we saw on the web. Lad Bible’s link to their Rami Malek best actor story received 220,000 engagements on their page, meaning about half their engagements were driven by their own promotion of the story, and about half came from others. Three of the top ten posts were link posts, while the rest were mostly video.

The story that stole the show though, even more so on Facebook, was the rendition of Shallow that Cooper and Lady Gaga performed halfway through the ceremony, with that being the focus of four of the top ten Facebook posts. Other noteworthy posts that performed well were the airing of Nike’s Serena Williams ad, and a post from Angela Bassett.

Web content generally performed slightly better than Facebook native content in terms of overall engagement, particularly among the top publishers.

9 News was the top Facebook Page for the ceremony with just over half a million engagements. Mainstream publishers such as the BBC and ABC News were among the top Facebook Pages, even though they were not among the top web publishers.

The top brand posts of the 2019 Oscars

One final thing to look at before we wrap up is the top stories that brands posted to tie themselves to the Oscars buzz.

We looked at the top ten Facebook posts from brands for the past week that contained the words Oscars or Academy Awards.

Leader of the pack was Greggs, a British pastry shop with something of a cult following. Their posts made up two of the top three as they asked people to vote for winners in the lead role and supporting role categories from among their baked good products.

Beyond that it was really all about the fashion, with jewelers and designers posting about who was wearing their designs, and these included Versace, Swarovski, and Tiffany and Co. Outdoor brand REI was also featured in the list, celebrating the victory of Free Solo in the Documentary Film category.

Key Takeaways

It is the performances and the winners then, that drive the most engagements. What did we learn?

  • The best actor category will always drive engagement
  • Live performances that inspire emotion tend to be the most talked about
  • Brands that have nothing to do with the Oscars can still have something to say
  • Video is the most engaging format for native Facebook content
  • Photo was the most successful format for the brands posting Oscars content on Facebook

Want to see what’s going viral in real time? Request a demo of NewsWhip Spike.

Benedict Nicholson

Benedict Nicholson is the Managing Editor at NewsWhip. An Englishman in New York, he is interested in the intersection of PR, brands, and journalism, and the trends and innovation around that.

Email Benedict via