Oscar winners slipping at the box office — 2016

Oscar winners slipping at the box office — 2016 January 24, 2017

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For most of the Academy’s history, the award for Best Picture has gone to a fairly big box-office hit, a film that appealed to the vast majority of moviegoers everywhere.

That all changed in 2005, when the award went to Crash, the first Best Picture winner (in my lifetime, at least) that was not one of the Top 25 hits in the year of its release. In fact, Crash, which grossed only $54.6 million, ranked way, way down at #49.

For the next several years, the Oscar for Best Picture alternated between relatively big hits and somewhat smaller box-office performers — and for the last three years, the award has gone to a steady string of smaller films well outside the Top 60.

Is that the new normal now? Will the award go to another small film this year?

I don’t think so, considering the record-setting 14 nominations that went to La La Land today. That film has has already grossed $90.5 million, and it will soon be one of the first of this year’s Best Picture nominees to gross over $100 million.

And if it wins Best Picture, as many people are expecting, it could very easily mark the first time in four years that the top Oscar went to a film that was in the year’s Top 25. (La La Land currently ranks 32nd, but it would only have to gross another $12.7 million to join the Top 25, and it will do that within a week or two.)

As ever, we shall see. For now, here are the nominees, with their current grosses and box-office rankings for the year as of yesterday:

  • Arrival — $95,699,508 — 28th
  • La La Land — $90,487,402 — 32nd
  • Hidden Figures — $85,000,067 — 36th
  • Hacksaw Ridge — $65,497,277 — 47th
  • Fences — $48,843,693 — 65th
  • Manchester by the Sea — $39,003,692 — 75th
  • Hell or High Water — $27,007,844 — 92nd
  • Lion — $16,529,441 — 114th
  • Moonlight — $15,854,580 — 116th

As before, here are the Best Picture winners (with box-office stats) going back to the year of my birth; I’ll add this year’s winner after it is announced February 26:

2016 — 101 — $22.3 million — Moonlight
2015 — 62 — $45.1 million — Spotlight
2014 — 78 — $42.3 million — Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
2013 — 62 — $56.7 million — 12 Years a Slave
2012 — 22 — $136.0 million — Argo
2011 — 71 — $44.7 million — The Artist
2010 — 18 — $135.5 million — The King’s Speech
2009 — 116 — $17.0 million — The Hurt Locker
2008 — 16 — $141.3 million — Slumdog Millionaire
2007 — 36 — $74.3 million — No Country for Old Men
2006 — 15 — $132.4 million — The Departed
2005 — 49 — $54.6 million — Crash
2004 — 24 — $100.5 million — Million Dollar Baby
2003 — 1 — $377.0 million — The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
2002 — 10 — $170.7 million — Chicago
2001 — 11 — $170.7 million — A Beautiful Mind
2000 — 4 — $187.7 million — Gladiator

1999 — 13 — $130.1 million — American Beauty
1998 — 18 — $100.3 million — Shakespeare in Love
1997 — 1 — $600.8 million — Titanic
1996 — 19 — $78.7 million — The English Patient
1995 — 18 — $75.6 million — Braveheart
1994 — 1 — $329.7 million — Forrest Gump
1993 — 9 — $96.1 million — Schindler’s List
1992 — 11 — $101.2 million — Unforgiven
1991 — 4 — $130.7 million — Silence of the Lambs
1990 — 3 — $184.2 million — Dances with Wolves
1989 — 8 — $106.6 million — Driving Miss Daisy
1988 — 1 — $172.8 million — Rain Man
1987 — 25 — $44.0 million — The Last Emperor
1986 — 3 — $138.5 million — Platoon
1985 — 5 — $87.1 million — Out of Africa
1984 — 12 — $52.0 million — Amadeus
1983 — 2 — $108.4 million — Terms of Endearment
1982 — 12 — $52.8 million — Gandhi
1981 — 7 — $59.0 million — Chariots of Fire
1980 — 11 — $54.8 million — Ordinary People
1979 — xx — $106.3 million — Kramer Vs. Kramer
1978 — xx — $49.0 million — The Deer Hunter
1977 — xx — $38.3 million — Annie Hall
1976 — xx — $117.2 million — Rocky
1975 — xx — $109.0 million — One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest
1974 — xx — $47.5 million — The Godfather Part II
1973 — xx — $156.0 million — The Sting
1972 — xx — $133.7 million — The Godfather
1971 — xx — $51.7 million — The French Connection
1970 — xx — $61.7 million — Patton

February 26 update: Updated to include the winner for 2016.

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