The Oscars is the most watched awards show of the year, closely followed by hundreds of millions of movie fans around the world.
This week Hollywood’s finest are gathering at the red carpet once again. While they associate the celebration with eternal fame and recognition, for online pirates it’s a highly anticipated event as well.
Traditionally, Oscar winners tend to do very well in pirate circles, so we decided to take a look at the availability of this year’s contenders through unauthorized channels.
Relying on data from Oscar piracy watcher Andy Baio, we see that all nominated* films are now available on pirate sites, most in decent quality too. There’s only one film that hasn’t been released as a screener, Blu-Ray or other high-quality rip, and that’s “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.”
Ironically, the Star Wars movie was one of the most anticipated releases during the screener season and despite various teases and rumored leaks, it hasn’t come out yet. Instead, Star Wars pirates have had to settle for a HDTS copy.
Another issue that deserves a closer look is the availability of leaked screener copies.
For well over a decade, pirated screeners of the latest movies have started to leak online around December. Ironically, many of these titles leaked from DVD screener copies which were sent out to reviewers, including Academy members who vote for the Oscars.
This year, however, “screener season” started out a bit different than before. Previously, the first leaked screeners always came out before December 16th but this time it remained quiet.
When Christmas came there were still no leaked screeners, and it took until early January before the ball started rolling.
The silence was broken with a release of the Denzel Washington movie Fences and soon after more and more screeners appeared online. While some feared that screener season would never be the same again, at the end of the road it turned out to be a relatively regular year.
With just a few hours to go before the awards ceremony, a total of 14 screeners of nominated films have leaked online, which is comparable to previous years.
The chart above shows an overview of the screener leaks per year. These are only for movies that eventually received an Academy Awards nomination*, so the total number will be even higher.
Finally, it’s worth noting that despite the widespread availability of pirate copies, screener leaks appear to be under a bit of pressure. Like previous years, most of the leaked screeners have been released by Hive-CM8.
This means that one group has to carry a pretty heavy burden. If they stop doing what they do, the screener supply could be severely limited.
That said, the focus on screeners might be a bit overstated. Except for a few prominent leaks, the interest in screener copies is not significantly higher than the average HDrip or Blu-Ray release, which are still widely available.
Foreign film and documentary categories are not included