By Joey Magidson
As much as we all like to take a pure approach to movies and the awards season as a whole, looking at film only as an art form to be rewarded solely on its merit, the Oscars are a business. It’s mostly a matter of things being black and white. But we get shades of grey in the connection that exists (or maybe doesn’t) between the Oscars and the box office.
Long has been the contention that Oscars winners, especially Best Picture winners, need to be big moneymakers to actually take home the gold. Two out of the last three films crowned with the prize, though, have been among the very lowest grossers of all time. The Artist and The Hurt Locker beat out bigger bucks, with the latter especially noteworthy for triumphing over the highest grossing film of all time in Avatar.
While this could become the norm, it used to be a rarity (just look at how many people are still shocked that Annie Hall beat out Star Wars in 1978), and it’s currently cited as an example of how the tastes of the Academy and the mainstream public have never been less in sync. The Academy has even acknowledged its desire to cater to the average moviegoer’s likes through the expansion of Best Picture, albeit to mixed success. Is this necessarily a bad thing, and what does it mean for this year?
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