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Krulwich On Science

Your Neighborhood Oscars

It's time to honor the films and performances that Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences members (roughly 6,000 people) choose as best of the year.

So why do we let a bunch of movie professionals or people who used to work in the business choose "bests" for us? Well, first, I don't think you would disagree that popular movies aren't always the "best" ones. And intriguingly, what's popular in one neighborhood is shockingly unpopular on the other side of town. People in different places feel very, very differently about the movies.

For example, run your cursor across these maps published in the New York Times. Each one is divided into ZIP codes that show which films got the most and the fewest Netflix rentals in 2009. So you can go to your neighborhood and see what your neighbors wanted or didn't want to see. Then check the neighborhood next door, then across town, then across the country. The differences are astonishing.

Screen grab from nytimes.com hide caption

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Screen grab from nytimes.com

If you want to find how the NYT put together this project together, you can read the inside scoop here.

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