Oscar winners slipping at the box office — 2012

I haven’t done this in a few years, but I did devote posts to this subject in 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009 — so I might as well whip one up for 2012, as well.

First, a recap:

2005 marked the first time since 1996 that the Best Picture winner did not gross at least $100 million, the first time since 1985 that not one of the Best Picture nominees grossed at least $100 million, and the first time in living memory that the Best Picture winner was not one of the Top 25 grossing films of its year. In fact, the winner that year — Crash — grossed a mere $54.6 million and ranked way, way down at #49.

Ever since then, the Oscar for Best Picture has alternated between relatively big hits and somewhat smaller box-office performers.

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Oscar nominations — my own two bits

The Academy has spoken, and it looks like Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln will be the big winner when the final envelopes are opened on February 24.

All the usual indicators point in that direction, at any rate. It has the most nominations. It is one of only two Best Picture nominees whose directors were also nominated for the Directors Guild Award (the other such film being Ang Lee’s Life of Pi). It was nominated for Best Film Editing. And, perhaps just as importantly, it is a box-office hit in a year when the Oscar will probably go to a box-office hit. (More on that in a later post.)

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A teaser for Lincoln, and a flashback to Amistad

Nobody just releases trailers for movies any more; now, thanks to the Twilight franchise (and others, perhaps), we’re starting to see trailers for trailers — and the latest trailer-for-a-trailer to hit the interwebs is this 44-second clip from Steven Spielberg’s film about Abraham Lincoln. There’s not a whole lot to comment on here, but I did think this would be as good a time as any to re-post an article I wrote for Books & Culture back in 1998 on the last Spielberg movie that dealt with the Civil War, i.e. Amistad (most of which takes place about 20 years before the war, but there are some clear foreshadowings of it, and, if memory serves, the film does include a brief shot of American soldiers meeting each other on the battlefield during the epilogue). You can read that article here. (And, wow, 1998 seems so long ago now, like it was a whole other century. Oh, wait, that’s because it was.)


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