The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences raised a bit of a fuss recently when it proposed adding a new category to the Oscars this year — that of a “Most Popular” movie. The thinking being, the “Best Picture” Oscar doesn’t necessarily recognize that popularity metric, right?
The Academy of course walked it back, but we should note that the “Best Picture” category as a whole this year has actually generated a strong collective box office haul. As Variety reported in recent days, the $1.3 billion in box office receipts earned by this year’s “Best Picture” nominees is the best performance in almost a decade. Let’s look a little deeper at this, though.
There’s a groundswell of buzz that Netflix’s Roma, the cinematic tour de force from Alfonso Cuaron, may walk away with the golden statuette for “Best Picture” this year. In which case, it will be a significant validation of the Netflix way of doing business — keeping audience stats close to the vest, for example, as well as undercutting the cinema-heavy release model by favoring a same-day streaming release strategy.
So let’s use that prediction that Roma walks away as the winner this year. With that in mind, the folks at the infographic maker Visme used IMDb and Indiewire data to prepare this infographic showing the generally wide divergence between what audiences want to see during a given year and what the Academy chooses to honor as that year’s “Best Picture.”
The graphic asks whether the Oscars are guilty of being out of touch with regular moviegoers.
Is this an unfair argument to make? Is it missing the point, in other words, to compare blockbusters aimed at the masses with movies regarded as the highest cinematic and artistic achievement in a given year? Check out the full graphic yourself and see if you think it provides sufficient evidence that Hollywood is generally out of touch with what regular moviegoers want to see.
The graphic compares every year’s “Best Picture” winner with that year’s highest grossing film. For 2019, it uses the prediction that “Roma” will win the “Best Picture” Oscar: