Why Your Favorite Movie Won’t Get An Oscar Nomination.

The Oscar nominations will be announced tomorrow
morning and despite the Academy’s best efforts, it
looks like the biggest films of the year will be
mostly shut out of competition. Don’t expect big
nominations for The Avengers, The Dark Knight
Rises or The Hunger Games.
Since 2008, the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts
and Sciences has been playing with the formula for
Best Picture in the hopes of getting more popular
films nominated (and boosting viewership for the
Oscar ceremony which last year was watched by
fewer people than watched the Grammy Awards).
First they increased the number of nominated films
from five to ten. This year, to complicate things,
there could be as many as ten nominees or as few
as five. In order to qualify for a Best Picture nod, a
film has to be the top pick of at least 5% of the
Academy voters.
That means there’s room for a wild card. Our in-
house film expert, Mark Hughes, thinks that could
be Skyfall or The Hobbit (which would ruin the
premise of this post). I think Skyfall has a decent
chance of being a spoiler. It has a prestige director
in Sam Mendes, it’s earned almost universal praise
from critics and it’s the first Bond movie ever to
bring in $1 billion at the box office.
But I suspect we’re going to see a very blockbuster-
light list of nominations. The films that are getting
the most award buzz are Lincoln, Les Miserables
and Zero Dark Thirty. While Lincoln and Les Miz are
doing well at the box office (earning $144 million
and $172 million so far respectively), they aren’t
near the top earners of 2012. Zero Dark Thirty has
only been playing in a few theaters. It expands into
wide release this weekend.
It’s not necessarily a bad thing that big
blockbusters don’t get nominated. Films that earn
over $1 billion at the box office don’t really need
any more publicity or anything else to help boost
DVD revenue. Smaller films, like Zero Dark Thirty,
rely on that Oscar boost. Nominations focusing on
smaller films is good for the overall Hollywood
ecosystem, even if the people running the awards
would like to spice things up a bit.
The awards are scheduled for February 24th on
ABC. Seth MacFarlane is this year’s host.

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