Best Picture Oscar Nominees Are Split Between the Box Office Haves and Have-Nots (2023)

Three films among last year’s top 15 highest grossing films were nominated while three others combined for less than $30 million domestic

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“The Way of Water” and “Maverick,” of course, are the highest grossing films of the year, combining for over $1.3 billion domestic and nearly $3.5 billion worldwide. “Elvis” is farther down the list with $151 million domestic and $287 million global, but it was able to reignite interest in its legendary subject and drive consistent turnout from moviegoers over the age of 50.

But on the other end of the spectrum are Steven Spielberg’s “The Fabelmans,” Martin McDonagh’s “The Banshees of Inisherin,” and Todd Field’s “Tár” — three films that were critically acclaimed festival darlings and have, combined, grossed less than $30 million in North America. Joining them from the arthouse scene are Sarah Polley’s “Women Talking,” which is currently in theaters in limited release with $1.1 million grossed; Ruben Ostlund’s Palme D’Or winner “Triangle of Sadness,” which grossed $4.2 million domestic last fall, and Edward Berger’s “All Quiet on the Western Front,” which is a Netflix streaming exclusive.

“Fabelmans” and “Inisherin,” in particular, show how much prestige films have fallen off in terms of theatrical performance when compared to past Spielberg and McDonagh films that got Oscar recognition.

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In 2018, Spielberg’s historical thriller “The Post” grossed $81 million domestic and $193 million worldwide, starting with a limited release during the holiday season before expanding to 2,850 theaters in mid-January.

Best Picture Oscar Nominees Are Split Between the Box Office Haves and Have-Nots (2)

“The Fabelmans,” by contrast, has grossed just $14.9 million in North America and needs a strong overseas run in the coming weeks to even make back its $40 million production budget.

Spielberg’s autobiographical drama is the sort of reliable, accessible adult fare that could make a decent amount of money even in the late 2010s, but its screen count never exceeded 1,200 theaters. Its five-day Thanksgiving weekend total of $3.1 million from 638 theaters was beaten by the $4.2 million earned by the Tom Hanks dramedy “A Man Called Otto” when it had almost the same screen count in early January.

Boxoffice editor Daniel Loria believes the slower release rollout that Universal attempted didn’t help “The Fabelmans,” but also believes that the film’s premise didn’t align with what audiences want even in an accessible adult drama.

“Even before the pandemic, I think Spielberg making a movie about his childhood would have been a harder sell than ‘The Post’ or ‘Bridge of Spies,'” he said. “Those films had a thriller element that make them more appealing to audiences than a quiet film about Spielberg’s family and how he got into filmmaking.”

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In November 2017, McDonagh’s “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” had a $5.8 million Thanksgiving weekend total and legged out to $54.5 million in North America. The film never cracked the top 5 on the box office charts or had a screen count of more than 1,620 theaters, but it didn’t need to. It was able to maintain low but steady turnout all the way through Oscar Sunday, the sort that awards contenders aim to have when they hit theaters in early November.

But in a post-COVID world the shortening of the theatrical window, the declining interest in seeing prestige films in theaters, and the plummeting cultural relevance of awards shows have quickly sapped away all the factors that allowed a film like “Three Billboards” to find box office success. “The Banshees of Inisherin” has shown that, with a maximum screen count of just under 900 theaters and a peak weekend total of just $2 million.

Best Picture Oscar Nominees Are Split Between the Box Office Haves and Have-Nots (4)

Released in late October, “Inisherin” was essentially finished in U.S. theaters by Thanksgiving, grossing $9.3 million domestic. Like “The Fabelmans,” Searchlight will try to find some extra theatrical revenue from overseas moviegoers with a post-Oscar nomination international rollout in markets like Italy, Spain, Brazil and Scandinavia. But even in the U.K. and Ireland, where the film had its best performance, its $11.3 million total failed to reach the $20.9 million of “Three Billboards.”

The market for the sort of critically acclaimed dramas that regularly make the Best Picture list has continued to get squeezed from all sides, with studios struggling to figure out how to market such high-brow affair — or even middlebrow in the case of “Fabelmans” — to an audience that’s more comfortable with seeing such films on streaming or digital on-demand. And with the Oscars losing their cultural clout, even that audience may be shrinking as well.

“Once you cut off that theatrical window, you take away the time that films like ‘Inisherin’ need to build the word-of-mouth to make them theatrically successful. That’s how someone who saw a film in platform release in L.A. tells their Middle America relatives over the holidays that they should see when it comes to theaters where they live,” Loria said.

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Ironically, the one Best Picture contender that defies categorization between major studio, wide release hit, and struggling prestige title is the one that got the most nominations: Daniels’ “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” which this past spring became the first A24 release to gross over $100 million worldwide.

Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert’s genre-bending film didn’t top the end-of-year charts but punched well above its indie weight class thanks purely to organic word-of-mouth. Released wide in April 2022, well outside the usual awards season release period, it didn’t need Oscar buzz to draw interest. Rather, like “Top Gun: Maverick,” it got Oscar buzz because of its widespread popularity, something that regularly happened before mainstream and Academy voter tastes dramatically diverged.

While there was already some mass appeal, wide release offerings on the 2023 slate that might find their way onto next year’s nominee list — Denis Villeneuve’s “Dune: Part Two” and Christopher Nolan’s “Oppenheimer” come to mind — there’s no guarantee that a film like “Top Gun: Maverick” or “Everything Everywhere” will prove to be both a box office success and a major awards player.

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What’s more certain, given recent history and the tastes of the Academy, is that a film from Toronto or Venice will get that nomination. Maybe it will be Martin Scorsese’s “Killers of the Flower Moon” or Bradley Cooper’s Leonard Bernstein biopic “Maestro.” Maybe it will be another buzzy festival title that isn’t currently on anyone’s radar.

But when it comes time for that type of film to hit theaters, all signs point to it yielding the box office scraps that “The Fabelmans” earned rather than the modestly successful Best Picture winners of recent pre-pandemic memory.

“The new formula that studios and distributors have put together coming out of the pandemic isn’t working for these kinds of festival movies,” Loria said. “It’s the system that has come together in response to streaming demand and to getting audiences in theaters for more populist films, but the more artistic and thought-provoking stuff is getting left behind.”

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FAQs

What films are nominated for best picture 2022? ›

The 10 movies up for best picture are: “Everything Everywhere All at Once,”“The Banshees of Inisherin,” “The Fabelmans,” “Tár,” “Top Gun: Maverick,” “Avatar: The Way of Water,” “Elvis,” “All Quiet on the Western Front,” “Women Talking” and “Triangle of Sadness.”

Which movies are nominated for Oscars 2023? ›

This year, ten films were nominated for the Best Picture Oscar. These include All Quiet on the Western Front, Avatar: The Way of Water, The Banshees of Inisherin, Elvis, Everything Everywhere All At Once, The Fabelmans, Tár, Top Gun Maverick, Triangle of Sadness and Women Talking.

Which movie has the most Oscar nominations 2023? ›

Oscar Nominations 2023: Full List of Nominees Led by Everything Everywhere All at Once. The Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert–directed movie led with 11 nominations, followed by The Banshees of Inisherin and All Quiet on the Western Front with nine apiece.

Is Everything Everywhere All at Once nominated for an Oscar? ›

Everything Everywhere All at Once

Are any of the 2023 Oscar nominated movies streaming? ›

How to Watch 2023 Oscar Animated Film Nominees Online. Guillermo del Toro's Pinocchio — Stream on Netflix. Marcel the Shell With Shoes On — Rent to watch on Prime Video or Vudu for $5.99. Puss in Boots: The Last Wish — Rent to watch on Prime Video or Vudu for $24.99.

Who is the only man to win 3 Best Actor Oscars? ›

Six have won exactly three acting Academy Awards: Daniel Day-Lewis (three Best Actor awards), Frances McDormand (three Best Actress awards), Meryl Streep (two Best Actress awards and one Best Supporting Actress award), Jack Nicholson (two Best Actor awards and one Best Supporting Actor award), Ingrid Bergman (two Best ...

What is the longest movie to win Best Picture? ›

1. 'Gone with the Wind' (1940) – 233 minutes.

Who Won 3 Oscars in one night? ›

Daniel Day-Lewis

He's been nominated only six times, but he's won three Oscars for Best Actor. The Irish thespian had said that 2017's “Phantom Thread” was his last film, so he may be retired. Of course, Joe Pesci said that once, and then “The Irishman” happened.

Who is up for best actor 2023? ›

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CATEGORY COMMENTARY: The best actor race is comprised of all first-time nominees — Austin Butler (“Elvis”), Colin Farrell (“The Banshees of Inisherin”), Brendan Fraser (“The Whale”), Paul Mescal (“Aftersun”) and Bill Nighy (“Living”).

What are the only 3 films to win the Big 5 Oscars? ›

In the past 90 years, only three films, It Happened One Night (1934), One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975) and The Silence of the Lambs (1991) have won all five Oscars from the forty-three films that secured nominations in all five prestige Academy Award categories.

What three movies share the title for winner of the most Oscars? ›

As of October 2022, three films tied for most Academy Award wins of all time. "Ben-Hur" (1959), "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King" (2003), and "Titanic" (1997) each received 11 Oscars. The musical with the most Oscar wins was "West Side Story" (1961), with ten trophies.

Who holds the record for most Oscar nominations without a win? ›

Peter O'Toole and Glenn Close jointly hold the record for most nominations in the acting categories without a win, with eight, followed by Richard Burton with seven, and Deborah Kerr, Thelma Ritter and Amy Adams with six. Both O'Toole and Kerr did receive the Academy Honorary Award.

Can someone be nominated twice for an Oscar in the same category? ›

The only two rules with regard to multiple nominations is that an actor or actress cannot receive multiple nominations for different performances in the same category (one nomination must be for a lead role and the other must be for a supporting role), and they cannot receive multiple nominations for the same ...

Can someone win two Oscars at once? ›

To date, a total of 84 individuals have achieved this feat on 98 distinct occasions with the multiple winners having won more than one awards that year. The most awards have been won by Walt Disney, who won four Academy Awards in 1954. Of these, ten individuals have achieved this feat on more than one occasion.

What single person has won the most Oscars? ›

The individual who has been awarded the most Oscars ever is Walt Disney, who won 22 awards from a total of 59 nominations. He received four non-competitive awards from the Academy on top of this, which means he was awarded 26 awards in total.

How many Oscar nominations does Elvis have? ›

Oscar Nominations 2023: 'Elvis' receives 8 Oscar nods, including Best Picture and Best Actor. MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Baz Luhrmann's 2022 film “Elvis” has been nominated for eight Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Actor.

Has any actor refused an Oscar? ›

(NEXSTAR) – The Academy Award is generally regarded as one of the highest honors that an actor can receive — the keyword being “generally.” In the history of the Oscars, however, there have only been three people who refused their awards: actors George C. Scott and Marlon Brando, and screenwriter Dudley Nichols.

Who was the second male actor to refuse a Best Actor Oscar? ›

Wounded Knee had also been the site of a massacre of Native Americans by U.S. government forces in 1890. Brando was the second performer to turn down a Best Actor Oscar; the first was George C.

Who is the most awarded actor of all time? ›

As of 2022, Katharine Hepburn maintained her lead as the actor with the most Oscar wins of all time.

Are the Oscars real gold? ›

The statuettes are solid bronze and plated in 24-karat gold. Due to a metal shortage during World War II, Oscars were made of painted plaster for three years. Following the war, the Academy invited recipients to redeem the plaster figures for gold-plated metal ones.

Has a Netflix film ever won Best Picture? ›

Netflix broke into the Best Picture race for the first time with 2018's Roma and has since added six more titles to that coveted list of nominees, but has so far failed to secure a win, though Apple TV+ broke the barrier this year, becoming the first streaming service to take home Best Picture for CODA despite Netflix ...

What is the number 1 longest movie in the world? ›

Guinness World Records says the longest film ever made is "The Cure for Insomnia" released in 1987. The 85-hour experimental film was directed by John Henry Timmis IV.

Which actor has the most movies? ›

The “Man of a Thousand Voices,” Mel Blanc is regarded as the actor who's racked up the most acting credits — more than 1,200 — voicing Bugs Bunny, Porky Pig, Daffy Duck, and many, many more cartoon characters since the 1930s.

Who was the youngest Oscar winner? ›

Tatum O'Neal, 'Paper Moon' (1973)

She remains the youngest competitive Oscar winner in history, beating out Linda Blair (The Exorcist), Sylvia Sidney (Summer Wishes, Winter Dreams), Candy Clark (American Graffiti) and her Paper Moon co-star Madeline Kahn.

Who is the youngest actor to receive the best? ›

The youngest ever Oscar winner is actress Tatum O'Neal who was only 10 years old when she won Best Supporting Actress for the film 'Paper Moon'.

Is the Batman nominated for an Oscar? ›

The Batman

What movies got nominated for Oscars? ›

Academy Award for Best Picture

Is NTR nominated for Oscar 2023? ›

The official Twitter page of RRR also shared a post: "WE CREATED HISTORY!! Proud and privileged to share that #NaatuNaatu has been nominated for Best Original Song at the 95th Academy Awards. #Oscars #RRRMovie." Earlier this month, Naatu Naatu won the Golden Globe in the same category.

Who will host The Oscars 2023? ›

Where will The Oscars be held in 2023? ›

Oscar nominations 2023: All the snubs and surprises

The 95th Academy Awards will be held March 12 at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood and televised live on ABC.

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