More on Oscar’s Best Picture Bias

So, uh, wow…

I don’t watch the Oscars because it’s nothing more than an evening-long party where Hollywood pats itself on the back.  So, when looking up for the results, I had to check three different sources.  The Hurt Locker over Avatar?  I never saw Hurt Locker and thought Avatar was overrated (and am really glad it didn’t win) but it’s still surprising.  Looking at the past 25 years of Oscar, whenever the number one box office hit was nominated, it was most likely going to win.  Titanic was the highest-grossing film of all-time when it won, why wouldn’t history repeat itself when Avatar won?

Hurt Locker‘s win is also a bit perplexing because it lacks mainstream appeal.  Seriously, the film does not even crack the top 100 in box office…  A “Best Picture” worthy film has a balance of everything.  Those components include excellent acting, writing, directing and generally some form of mainstream appeal.  To borrow Chinese philosophy, is a great film “great” if no one sees it?

Anyway, to coincide with the Oscars, here’s an expansion to the previous rant about the Academy’s hesitation to nominate the year’s biggest blockbuster for their most prestigious award.  Whereas last rant concerned itself with only the top-grossing picture of the year, this overview will include all the year’s blockbusters.  This rant will define “blockbuster movies” as films that grossed over $100 million at the box office.  If a movie is listed in italics, it was nominated for the Academy’s Best Picture award.  If a movie is in bold and italics, it won Best Picture that year.  Best Picture winners, nominees, their finish at the box office and the money grossed at the box office are also listed for convenience.  Keep in mind that all monetary amounts listed after each film’s title are in the millions and come from Box Office Mojo.

Feel free to look over and wonder why the Academy nominated “y” over “x”.  For example, why the fuck did Frost/Nixon/Milk/The Reader get nominated over Dark Knight?  Why the hell Kiss of the Spider Woman or Prizzi’s Honor nominated over Back to the FutureNote how weird it is for years where two (or more) blockbusters are nominated and the lower-grossing one tends to win (1990-1992, 1998-1999, 2001-2002, 2004)…

1983
Star Wars:  Return of the Jedi
Terms of Endearment

Winner:  Terms of Endearment (2, $108.4)
Nominees:  The Big Chill (13, $56.3), The Dresser (not in top 50), The Right Stuff (33, $21.1), Tender Mercies (not in top 50)

1984
Beverly Hills Cop
Ghostbusters
Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
Gremlins

Winner:  Amadeus (12, $51.5)
Nominees: 
The Killing Fields (25, $34.7), A Passage to India (34, $27.1), Places in the Heart (24, $34.9), A Soldier’s Story (47, $21.8)

1985
Back to the Future
Rambo:  First Blood Part II
Rocky IV

Winner:  Out of Africa (5, $87.0)
Nominees: 
The Color Purple (4, $94.1), Kiss of the Spider Woman (not in top 50), Prizzi’s Honor (32, $26.6), Witness (8, $68.7)

1986
Top Gun
Crocodile Dundee
Platoon
The Karate Kid Part II
Star Trek IV:  The Voyage Home

Winner:  Platoon (3, $138.5)
Nominees: 
Children of a Lesser God (32, $31.8), Hannah and Her Sisters (30, $35.3), The Mission (not in top 50), A Room with a View (44, $20.9)

1987
Three Men and a Baby
Fatal Attraction
Beverly Hills Cop II
Good Morning, Vietnam

Winner:  The Last Emperor (25, $43.9)
Nominees: 
Broadcast News (18, $51.2), Fatal Attraction (2, $156.6), Hope and Glory (not in top 50), Moonstruck (5, $80.6)

1988

Rain Man
Who Framed Roger Rabbit?
Coming to America
Big
Twins
Crocodile Dundee II

Winner:  Rain Man (1, $172.8)
Nominees:  The Accidental Tourist (35, $32.6), Dangerous Liaisons (32, $34.67), Mississippi Burning (33, $34.60), Working Girl (11, $63.7)


1989
Batman
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
Lethal Weapon 2
Look Who’s Talking
Honey, I Shrunk the Kids
Back to the Future Part II
Ghostbusters II
Driving Miss Daisy
Parenthood

Winner:  Driving Miss Daisy (8, $106.5)
Nominees: 
Born on the Fourth of July (17, $70.0), Dead Poets Society (10, $95.8), Field of Dreams (19, $64.4), My Left Foot (not in top 50)

1990
Home Alone
Ghost
Dances with Wolves
Pretty Woman
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
The Hunt for Red October
Total Recall
Die Hard 2:  Die Harder
Dick Tracy

Winner:  Dances with Wolves (3, $184.2)
Nominees: 
Awakenings (23, $52.0), Ghost (2, $217.6), The Godfather Part III (17, $66.6), Goodfellas (26, $46.8)

1991
Terminator 2:  Judgment Day
Robin Hood:  Prince of Thieves
Beauty and the Beast
The Silence of the Lambs
City Slickers
Hook
The Addams Family
Sleeping with the Enemy

Winner:  The Silence of the Lambs (4, $130.7)
Nominees: 
Beauty and the Beast (3, $145.8), Bugsy (25, $49.1), JFK (17, $70.4), The Prince of Tides (16, $74.7)

1992
Aladdin
Home Alone 2
Batman Returns
Lethal Weapon 3
A Few Good Men
Sister Act
The Bodyguard
Wayne’s World
Basic Instinct
A League of Their Own
Unforgiven

Winner:  Unforgiven (11, $101.1)
Nominees: 
The Crying Game (20, $62.5), A Few Good Men (5, $141.3), Howards End (48, $25.9), Scent of a Woman (19, $63.0)

1993
Jurassic Park
Mrs. Doubtfire
The Fugitive
The Firm
Sleepless in Seattle
Indecent Proposal
In the Line of Fire
The Pelican Brief

Winner:  Schindler’s List (9, $96.0)
Nominees: 
The Piano (38, $40.1), The Fugitive (3, $183.8), In the Name of the Father (not in top 50), The Remains of the Day (not in top 50)

1994
Forrest Gump
The Lion King
True Lies
The Santa Clause
The Flintstones
Dumb and Dumber
Clear and Present Danger
Speed
The Mask
Pulp Fiction
Interview with the Vampire
Maverick

Winner:  Forrest Gump (1, $329.6)
Nominees:  Four Weddings and a Funeral (21, $52.7), Pulp Fiction (10, $107.9), Quiz Show (not in top 50), The Shawshank Redemption (not in top 50)


1995
Toy Story
Batman Forever
Apollo 13
Pocahontas
Ace Ventura:  When Nature Calls
Goldeneye
Jumanji
Casper
Seven
Die Hard:  With A Vengeance

Winner:  Braveheart (18, $75.6)
Nominees: 
Apollo 13 (3, $172.0), Babe (28, $63.6), Il Postino (not in top 50), Sense and Sensibility (39, $43.1)

1996
Independence Day
Twister
Mission:  Impossible
Jerry Maguire
Ransom
101 Dalmatians (1996 reissue)
The Rock
The Nutty Professor
The Birdcage
A Time to Kill
The First Wives Club
Phenomenon
Scream
Eraser
The Hunchback of Notre Dame

Winner:  The English Patient (19, $78.6)
Nominees: 
Fargo (not in top 50), Jerry McGuire (4, $153.9), Secrets and Lies (not in top 50), Shine (41, $35.8)

1997
Titanic
Men in Black
The Lost World:  Jurassic Park
Liar Liar
Air Force One
As Good as It Gets
Good Will Hunting
Star Wars (1997 Special Edition)
My Best Friend’s Wedding
Tomorrow Never Dies
Face/Off
Batman and Robin
George of the Jungle
Scream 2
Con Air
Contact

Winner:  Titanic (1, $600.7)
Nominees:  As Good as it Gets (6, $148.4), The Full Monty (44, $45.9), Good Will Hunting (7, $138.4), L.A. Confidential (24, $64.6)


1998
Saving Private Ryan
Armageddon
There’s Something About Mary
A Bug’s Life
The Waterboy
Doctor Dolittle
Rush Hour
Deep Impact
Godzilla
Patch Adams
Lethal Weapon 4
The Truman Show
Mulan
You’ve Got Mail
Enemy of the State
The Prince of Egypt
The Rugrats Movie
Shakespeare in Love

Winner:  Shakespeare in Love (18, $100.3)
Nominees: 
Elizabeth (not in top 50), Life is Beautiful (35, $57.2), Saving Private Ryan (1, $216.5), The Thin Red Line (not in top 50)

1999
Star Wars Episode I:  The Phantom Menace
The Sixth Sense
Toy Story 2
Austin Powers:  The Spy Who Shagged Me
The Matrix
Tarzan
Big Daddy
The Mummy
Runaway Bride
The Blair Witch Project
Stuart Little
The Green Mile
American Beauty
The World Is Not Enough
Double Jeopardy
Notting Hill
Wild Wild West
Analyze This
The General’s Daughter
American Pie
Sleepy Hollow

Winner:  American Beauty (13, $130.0)
Nominees: 
The Cider House Rules (41, $57.5), The Green Mile (12, $136.8), The Insider (not in top 50), The Sixth Sense (2, $293.5)

2000
How the Grinch Stole Christmas
Cast Away
Mission:  Impossible II
Gladiator
What Women Want
The Perfect Storm
Meet the Parents
X-Men
Scary Movie
What Lies Beneath
Dinosaur
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
Erin Brockovich
Charlie’s Angels
Traffic
The Nutty Professor II:  The Klumps
Big Momma’s House
Remember the Titans
The Patriot
Chicken Run
Miss Congeniality
Gone in 60 Seconds

Winner:  Gladiator (4, $187.7)
Nominees: 
Chocolat (32, $71.5), Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (12, $128.0), Erin Brockovich (13, $125.5), Traffic (15, $124.1)

2001
Harry Potter and the Sorceror’s Stone
The Lord of the Rings:  The Fellowship of the Ring
Shrek
Monsters Inc.
Rush Hour 2
The Mummy Returns
Pearl Harbor
Ocean’s Eleven
Jurassic Park III
Planet of the Apes (2001 remake)
A Beautiful Mind
Hannibal
American Pie 2
The Fast and the Furious
Lara Croft:  Tomb Raider
Dr. Dolittle 2
Spy Kids
Black Hawk Down
The Princess Diaries
Vanilla Sky

Winner:  A Beautiful Mind (11, $170.7)
Nominees: 
Gosford Park (59, $41.3), In the Bedroom (68, $35.9), The Lord of the Rings:  The Fellowship of the Ring (2, $313.3), Moulin Rouge! (43, $57.3)

2002
Spider-Man
The Lord of the Rings:  The Two Towers
Star Wars Episode II:  Attack of the Clones
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
My Big Fat Greek Wedding
Signs
Austin Powers in Goldmember
Men in Black II
Ice Age
Chicago
Catch Me If You Can
Die Another Day
Scooby-Doo
Lilo & Stitch
XXX
The Santa Clause 2
Minority Report
The Ring
Sweet Home Alabama
Mr. Deeds
The Bourne Identity
The Sum of All Fears
8 Mile
Road to Perdition

Winner:  Chicago (10, $170.6)
Nominees: 
Gangs of New York (35, $77.8), The Hours (56, $41.6), The Lord of the Rings:  The Two Towers (2, $339.7), The Pianist (80, $32.5)

2003
The Lord of the Rings:  The Return of the King
Finding Nemo
Pirates of the Caribbean:  The Curse of the Black Pearl
The Matrix Reloaded
Bruce Almighty
X2:  X-Men United
Elf
Terminator 3:  Rise of the Machines
The Matrix Revolutions
Cheaper by the Dozen
Bad Boys II
Anger Management
Bringing Down the House
Hulk
2 Fast 2 Furious
Something’s Gotta Give
Seabiscuit
S.W.A.T.
Spy Kids 3D:  Game Over
The Last Samurai
Freaky Friday
Scary Movie 3
The Italian Job
How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days
American Wedding
Daddy Day Care
Daredevil
The Cat in the Hat
Charlie’s Angels:  Full Throttle

Winner:  The Lord of the Rings:  The Return of the King (1, $377.0)
Nominees:  Lost in Translation (67, $44.5), Master and Commander:  The Far Side of the World (31, $93.9), Mystic River (33, $90.1), Seabiscuit (17, $120.2)


2004
Shrek 2
Spider-Man 2
The Passion of the Christ
Meet the Fockers
The Incredibles
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
The Day After Tomorrow
The Bourne Supremacy
National Treasure
The Polar Express
Shark Tale
I, Robot
Troy
Ocean’s Twelve
50 First Dates
Van Helsing
Fahrenheit 9/11
Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events
DodgeBall:  A True Underdog Story
The Village
The Grudge
The Aviator
Collateral
Million Dollar Baby

Winner:  Million Dollar Baby (24, $100.4)
Nominees: 
The Aviator (22, $102.6), Finding Neverland (61, $51.6), Ray (37, $75.3), Sideways (40, $71.5)

2005
Star Wars Episode III:  Revenge of the Sith
The Chronicles of Narnia:  The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
War of the Worlds
King Kong
Wedding Crashers
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Batman Begins
Madagascar
Mr. and Mrs. Smith
Hitch
The Longest Yard
Fantastic Four
Chicken Little
Robots
Walk the Line
The Pacifier
Fun with Dick and Jane
The 40-Year-Old Virgin

Winner:  Crash (49, $54.5)
Nominees: 
Brokeback Mountain (22, $83.0), Capote (95, $28.7), Good Night and Good Luck (88, $31.5), Munich (62, $47.4)

2006
Pirates of the Caribbean:  Dead Man’s Chest
Night at the Museum
Cars
X-Men:  The Last Stand
The Da Vinci Code
Superman Returns
Happy Feet
Ice Age:  The Meltdown
Casino Royale
The Pursuit of Happyness
Over the Hedge
Talladega Nights
Click
Mission:  Impossible III
The Departed
Borat
The Devil Wears Prada
The Break-Up
Dreamgirls

Winner:  The Departed (15, $132.3)
Nominees: 
Babel (92, $34.3), Letters from Iwo Jima (138, $13.7), Little Miss Sunshine (51, $59.8), The Queen (57, $56.4)

2007
Spider-Man 3
Shrek the Third
Transformers
Pirates of the Caribbean:  At World’s End
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
I Am Legend
The Bourne Ultimatum
National Treasure:  Book of Secrets
Alvin and the Chipmunks
300
Ratatouille
The Simpsons Movie
Wild Hogs
Knocked Up
Juno
Rush Hour 3
Live Free or Die Hard
Fantastic Four:  Rise of the Silver Surfer
American Gangster
Enchanted
Bee Movie
Superbad
I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry
Hairspray
Blades of Glory
Ocean’s Thirteen
Ghost Rider
Evan Almighty

Winner:  No Country for Old Men (36)
Nominees:  A
tonement (50, $50.9), Juno (15, $143.4), Michael Clayton (55, $49.0), There Will Be Blood (66, $40.2)

2008
The Dark Knight
Iron Man
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
Hancock
WALL-E
Kung Fu Panda
Twilight
Madagascar:  Escape 2 Africa
Quantum of Solace
Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears a Who!
Sex and the City
Gran Torino
Mamma Mia!
Marley and Me
The Chronicles of Narnia:  Prince Caspian
Slumdog Millionaire
The Incredible Hulk
Wanted
Get Smart
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Four Christmases
Bolt
Tropic Thunder
Bedtime Stories
The Mummy:  Tomb of the Dragon Emperor
Journey to the Center of the Earth
Eagle Eye
Step Brothers
You Don’t Mess with the Zohan

Winner:  Slumdog Millionaire (16, $141.3)
Nominees: 
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (20, $127.5), Frost/Nixon (120, $18.6), Milk (89, $31.8), The Reader (82, $34.1)

2009
Avatar
Transformers:  Revenge of the Fallen
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Twilight:  New Moon
Up
The Hangover
Star Trek
The Blind Side
Alvin and the Chipmunks:  The Squeakquel
Sherlock Holmes
Monsters vs. Aliens
Ice Age:  Dawn of the Dinosaurs
X-Men Origins:  Wolverine
Night at the Museum:  Battle of the Smithsonian
2012
The Proposal
Fast and Furious
G.I. Joe:  The Rise of Cobra
Paul Blart:  Mall Cop
Taken
A Christmas Carol
Angels & Demons
Terminator Salvation
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs
Inglorious Bastards
G-Force
District 9
It’s Complicated
Couples Retreat
Paranormal Activity
Watchmen
The Princess and the Frog

Winner:  The Hurt Locker (126, $14.7)
Nominees:  Avatar (1, $720.1), The Blind Side (8, $250.4), District 9 (27, $115.6), An Education (133, $12.0), Inglorious Bastards (25, $120.5), Precious:  Based on the Novel “Push” by Sapphire (65, $47.4), A Serious Man (145, $9.2), Up (5, $293.0), Up in the Air (38, $83.0)
2009 box office figures as of March 7, 2010

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