In preparation for our Oscar pool, I punched all the Oscar nominations into Google, to see who the Internet picked as winners. I decided to go with straight search terms, which gave a huge advantage to movies like "Ray" and "Ryan" and punished some movies severely - "Sister Rose's Passion" only got 11 votes.
There are obviously many ways this could have been done better. "Movie Name" or "Actor's Name" AND movie would have made "Ray" much less formidable, for instance, but I think that Academy members subsconsciously vote for the words that there most familiar with. I could have used Google News to measure buzz, or I could conceivably have bought a directory of the Academy voters, found their average longitude and latitude, and used some Google Maps magic to measure their proximity to different search terms (like this.) I also spent about 4 minutes considering using Net::Google to try a few of these different options.
But plane jane search rules in the end, and the big winner was Ray with five awards including best picture and best director, followed byJohnny Depp for best actor, Morgan Freeman for best supporting actor, Kate Winslett for best Actress, and Natalie Portman for best supporting actress. Click on the ballot above to see all the results.