This year’s Oscars have been an active topic on social networks even before the nominees were announced on February 2nd. With high-profile nominees such as Avatar and Meryl Streep up against breakout contenders such as The Hurt Locker and Gabourey Sidibe, there is no shortage of opinion and posts.

MSN.com has created a destination for fans interested in following the social media trends of the nominees. The MSN Award Buzz page features visualizations of the conversations online and predicts the winners. The application tracks public mentions across forums, blogs, news articles, Twitter, and comments for nominees in the Best Picture, Director, Actor, Actress, Supporting Actor, and Supporting Actress categories.

Predictions for award winners are made based on the volume and sentiment of these mentions. The predictions are then compared to expert picks from MSN sources in a graphic that visualizes both the volume and tone of the posts. You can also explore recent and relevant posts from the social web.

Created for MSN by interactive agency Deep Focus and Radian6, MSN Award Buzz launched just after the nominees were announced and has been tracking all the online Oscar-focused conversations leading up to this weekend’s show. Deep Focus created the cool application and visualization while Radian6’s platform powers the collection and analysis of social media mentions and feeds the application.

The overall buzz surrounding the Oscars has really begun to pick up with the show just a few days away. But don’t worry if you can’t catch it all—the MSN Award Buzz application will continue tracking the pulse of the online space live throughout the award’s ceremony. Check it out and see how your predictions compare with those of the experts and the public.