Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Box Office, Oscar & 2008: If Oscar Nominees Came From Top Box Office Films, and A Hope For The Future

I must say, I'm excited for this year's academy awards. I wonder how many people will watch them, I can only imagine ratings will be down, and that hardly will be a news-worthy store because I suppose people expect it.

There's not a lot of "audience passion" when it comes to this years Academy Awards, or even many of the films that have been released. I am certainly not saying that there hasn't been quality films, but as I've pointed out before on StrangeCulture, this year, there has been reason for audiences to lack passion.

But I wanted to take this time, as I have previously to reflect on who would be nominated for an Oscar if the box office determined winners. Because animated films don't score acting noms the nominees in the lead categories would be something like...

Best Actor:
Christian Bale, Dark Knight; Robert Downey Jr, Iron Man; Harrison Ford, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull; Will Smith, Hancock; Robert Patinson, Twillight.

Best Actress:
Kristin Stewart, Twillight; Sarah Jessica Parker, Sex and The City; Meryl Streep, Mamma Mia!; Jennifer Aniston, Marley and Me; Angelina Jolie, Wanted.

To be honest, I think there races would be interesting...who would win?

I think it's interesting of these 10 nominees, 3 of them are actually nominated this year...just for different performances. And to be honest, when it comes to Oscar nominations it really is clear box office draw is something that is considered. Smaller names like Melissa Leo have to work harder to get nominated when competing with names like Jolie, Winslet, Hathaway, and Streep.
But it's also pretty clear that this years top box office winners are comic book films and fantasy.

At the time when I'm writing this only 2 of the 5 Oscar nominees for best picture have even broken the top 100 films...in the United States, Benjamin Button is in 19th place for 2008 films with a respectable $122 million gross, and Slumdog Millionaire is in at number 33 with an $88 million gross...which is all the more impressive with it's $15 million dollar budget.

At this point, all the other best picture nominees sit below the quarter million mark.

By no means, box office should not be a determining factor is "best pictureness," If that were the case I'd be saying movies like Semi-Pro, Beverly Hills Chihuahua, and Get Smart should be given more consideration.

All the same, if no one sees the nominated films, the Academy Awards become less interesting and less relevant.

I'm not saying that the general movie going public is in the wrong for supporting this fantastical high-energy, action packed, imaginative films...often with lots of make-up, special effects, and costumes.

Nor am I saying that the arts and critical community is wrong for supporting films with powerful stories, performances, about meaningful moments and experiences.

In end, to me it's not about people choosing different entertainment, or voting groups voting different, instead it's a hope that there would be more films that entice both audiences. I think in essence that's what is behind the success story of Slumdog Millionaire, and in many ways I would like to see that success multiplied in the form of multiple films, so that some of the best performances of the year can come from the most popular movies, not because people rushed to the art films or the Academy caved...no...I am wishing for better films that can capture both audiences.

Above superhero trio from eonline.


Michael Parsons said...

There needs to be a new awards body. Perhaps every blogger should band together and creat their own awards. They would be a combination of critical darlings, box office heavy weights and different genre's.

Perhaps we should!

Anonymous said...

Slumdog is #33 for the year in box office take, not #88.

RC said...

@ anon...thanks for the correction. #88 currently is the horror film Quarentine that came this fall.

The correction has been made, with Slumdog currently at 33, and rising. (29-32 didn't cross the 100 million mark...and I think Slumdog has a great chance with the Oscar love, we can expect).

Those films it would need to beat to bring in 100 million include

29. Yes Man
30. 10,000 B.C.
31. Beverly Hills Chihuahua
32. High School Musical 3: Senior Year

Please Slumdog beat each of these films!!

Karen said...

Sometimes I complain about the Oscars not showing the comic book movies mucho appreciation because I'm a big sci-fi/fantasy fan but then I snap back out of that tangent and realize that I'm glad the Academy spotlights movies like Frozen River and Rachel Getting Married. The MTV movie awards can go to the all those shiny blockbuster films. People like Melissa Leo and Richard Jenkins should be allowed one big night too. Anyhow, great commentary!

superdave524 said...

Maybe a category for Best Performance in a Blockbuster...

E Dot said...

I agree, getting out of Groundhog's Day only ever works with Bill Murray.

Great blog post. I don't care what anyone says, I'm writing in Anne Hathaway for 'Get Smart'.

Lorna said...

I never can remember from year to year who or what won, and the presentations themselves make my teeth ache with tension. Still, my heart races when the nominations come out. And I like it that the awards don't parallel the box office dollar.