Most Oscar Best Picture Nominees Aren’t Box Office Hits—But Blockbusters More Nods Than Usual

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Three of the 10 films nominated for Best Picture at the upcoming Academy Awards were among the top-grossing films at the box office of the last year, a notable change from recent history and amid growing concerns that the Oscars are catching up with mainstream viewers lose relevance.

Important facts

Two of the films nominated for Best Picture—Avatar: The Way of Water And Top Gun: Maverick—were the two highest-grossing films of the year in worldwide sales, earning $2.27 billion and $1.49 billion, respectively The way of the water is the third best-grossing film of all time according to Box Office Mojo.

elvis which was also nominated for Best Picture, was the 16th highest-grossing film of 2022 worldwide with worldwide grossing of $287 million.

The other Best Picture nominees have come close or not exceeded the $100 million mark worldwide, including films like tar ($16.8 million worldwide) and women speak ($5.7 million).

Most other top movies of 2022, like Jurassic World: Dominion And doctor strange in the multiverse of madness, received no Oscar nominations.

Black Panther: Wakanda Foreverthe 6th highest-grossing film of the year worldwide, was not nominated for Best Picture but received five other nominations, and Puss in Boots: The Last Wishwhich grossed $442.9 million worldwide last year and ranked as the 11th highest-grossing film, was nominated for Best Animated Feature.

Worldwide box office wins of Best Picture nominees

  1. Avatar: The Way of Water: $2.27 billion ($666.8 million domestically)
  2. Top Gun: Maverick: $1.49 billion ($718.7 million domestic)
  3. elvis: $287.3 million ($151 million domestically)
  4. All everywhere at once: $104.6 million ($73 million domestically)
  5. The Banshees of Inisherin: $45.2 million ($10.4 million domestically)
  6. The Fabelmans: $33.6 million ($17.1 million domestically)
  7. Triangle of Sadness: $23.9 million ($4.5 million domestically)
  8. Tar: $16.8 million ($6.6 million domestically)
  9. women speak: $5.7 million ($4.7 million domestically)
  10. Nothing new in the West: $0 – it was released exclusively on Netflix


Avatar: The Way of Water received four nominations, including Best Picture. elvis get eight. Top Gun: Maverick get six. Everything everywhere at oncethe most nominated film, received 11. After its national release in April last year, the film returned to the big screen in January in over 1,000 theaters to celebrate its hugely successful awards season.

key background

It used to be the norm for the Academy to nominate fan-favorite blockbusters for their grand prizes. But over the past two decades — when the top-grossing films have often been superheroes or action films — its electoral base has shied away from nominating box-office movies. It wasn’t until 2019 that a Marvel movie—Black Panther— received the studio’s first nod for best picture, though it lost Green Book. A recent Morning Consult survey of US adults found that some of the most popular best picture winners over the years were also blockbusters Forrest Gump ($678.2 million worldwide), titanic ($2.25 billion worldwide), Rocky ($117.2 million worldwide) and The Godfather ($250.3 million worldwide). Of the 22 films mentioned in the survey, the youngest winner was 2000’s gladiator ($503.1 million). In the same poll, 80% of self-proclaimed movie fans also voted titanic as her favorite winner for best picture. The Academy is aware that its selections don’t resonate with audiences: in 2018 it announced the Outstanding Achievement in Popular Film award, meant recognizing fan favorites who would not be nominated for Best Picture or other awards that were axed before the ceremony came after a backlash. Last year, in an effort to increase viewership, the Academy created a “Fan Favorite” recognition to mark popular films of the year that did not receive nominations as voted on by fans on social media. It doesn’t look like that will be part of the upcoming ceremony.

Surprising fact

Several other outstanding blockbusters have recently been nominated for Best Picture. In addition to Black Panther ($1.34 billion worldwide), also nominated for the 2019 Oscars Bohemian Rhapsody ($910.8 million worldwide) and A star Is Born ($436.2 million worldwide) for Best Picture. 2020, Once upon a time… in Hollywood ($377 million worldwide) and joker ($1.07 billion worldwide) received approval. And last year dune ($402 million worldwide) was nominated in this category.

What to look out for

The Oscars airs March 12 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.

Further reading

Oscar Nominations 2023: “Everything Everywhere at Once” Leads Pack (Forbes)

Sorry, ‘Spider-Man’, there are no blockbusters nominated for best picture. Unless we redefine the term (Los Angeles Times)

Why Your Favorite Blockbuster Probably Won’t Win Best Picture at the Oscars (CNN)

Oscars ‘Fan Favorite’ Awards Backfired In An Embarrassing Way (Comment) (The Wrap)

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