The Academy Awards weekend is coming, and you know what that means: Joan Rivers’ scathing red-carpet commentary, lame musical numbers and a scene so thick with plastic artificiality that Mattel should seriously consider becoming a sponsor. And in between, a few awards get doled out, as each announcement compels all the other snubbed actors to turn in their real Oscar-worthy performances — pretending they’re not seething with jealousy or disdain. (Der-rama!)

Long have insiders argued about how fair the selection process is, but we in the viewing audience have always had our own opinions of who was worthy and who got robbed. And with the rise of social media, these opinions are out in full force.

Seattle-based Banyan Branch chronicled the online buzz for nominees, compiling data from a year-long period (starting from February 21, 2011, to just a couple of days ago). The social media agency pinpointed OUR favorites by category and social media platform, giving us a chance to compare the Academy’s picks with the public’s. (See below.)

Among the tidbits:

  • When it comes to nominations, The Help might be a bit of an underdog, but it’s certainly not in the public’s heart — it garnered the most likes on Facebook and Twitter. (Hugo and The Artist got the most nominations, but not a ton of social buzz.)
  • Twitter seems to love chewing about Angelina’s better half — though admittedly, only a small fraction of the @ mentions were actually about Brad’s performance in Moneyball.
  • Twitter was also enamored with Viola Davis, but unlike Pitt, her acting chops in The Help accounted for a decent portion (one-third) of the tweets.
  • Then there’s Meryl. So vast is the respect heaped on Ms. Streep that the mere mention of the first name and “Oscar” immediately identifies her. That esteem translates to the web as well, as she nabbed the largest worldwide share of any of the nominated actresses.

But will respect yield an award for Meryl this time? (Can you believe she has been nominated eight times for some of cinema’s most breathtaking performances, but won only twice? It’s just criminal…) Which flick will be graced with Oscar’s presence? And can Billy Crystal bring back the magic, and wipe the memory of Anne Hathaway and James Franco’s strange hosting gig last year? The answers are coming in just mere days.

But the fun doesn’t have to end there. There are several mobile apps available that can expand on the experience using that trusty smartphone or tablet. For more on that, check out the top 5 Oscars apps, coming soon.

Do you have any Oscar predictions? Tell us who your faves are in the comments below.