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The PJ Tatler

Myra Adams


March 3, 2014 - 10:35 am
Academy Awards show

Credit: Academy Awards


Here are some financial facts showing the disconnect between Hollywood and “the rest of us.” (Facts are so inconvenient.)

Question: Of the nine movies nominated for Best Picture, how many ranked among the top-ten highest grossing movies of 2013 at the domestic box office?

Answer: Just one, Gravity which ranked sixth highest, hauling in $270,465,000 according to  Box Office Mojo.

Now to be fair, Frozen was the third highest grosser with $388,736,000 and that won Best Animated Feature Film but was not nominated for Best Picture.

Here are the remaining eight movies nominated for Best Picture and their 2013 domestic rankings at the box office.

  • 12 Years a Slave: Winner of Best Picture  Rank 69 — earned $50,260,000
  • American Hustle: Rank 17 — earned $146,710,000
  • Captain Phillips:  Rank 32 — earned $106,957,071
  • Dallas Buyers Club: Rank 99 — earned $25,318,000
  • Her: Rank 101 –earned $24,604,000
  • Nebraska: Rank 120 – earned $17,133,000
  • Philomena: Rank 83 — earned $34,629,000
  • The Wolf of Wall Street: Rank 29 – earned $114,579,000

For comparison, here are the domestic Top Ten Grossing Movies in 2013:

  1. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire:  $423,914,000
  2. Iron Man 3: $409,013,994
  3. Frozen: $368,736,000
  4. Despicable Me: $368,061,265
  5. Man of Steel: $291,045,518
  6. Gravity: $270,465,000
  7. Monsters University: $268,492,764
  8. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug $256,952,000
  9. Fast and Furious 6: $238,679,850
  10. Oz The Great and Powerful: $234,911,825

After seeing these rankings, please comment about whether you think Hollywood is out of touch with “the folks.”  And while you are commenting, how about answering this question: “Should success at the box office impact whether a movie deserves to be nominated or to win Best Picture?”

Furthermore, it is my humble opinion that a complete snubbing of Lone Survivor (Rank 24: Gross $123,357,000) sums up everything we need to know about Hollywood culture and values in 2014.  In case you missed it, here was what PJM’s Roger Simon wrote about that snub back when the nominations were announced  in January.

Finally, what Donald Trump thought about the Oscars was mentioned today in Politico’s Morning Score:

“Was President Obama in charge of this years [sic] Academy Awards – they remind me of the ObamaCare website!  -   Donald Trump tweeted during the Oscars last night.

Well, at least First Lady Michelle Obama stayed away from the awards show this year because we all know there is no connection between Hollywood and Washington.



Myra Adams is a media producer, writer, and political observer who served on the McCain Ad Council during the 2008 McCain campaign, and on the 2004 Bush campaign creative team. Her columns have appeared on PJ Media, National Review, The Daily Beast, The Daily Caller, RedState, BizPacReview and Liberty Unyielding. . Myra's web site contributes all profits to Christian charity. Follow Myra on Twitter @MyraKAdams

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All Comments   (25)
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I can't help noticing how many movies that get the majority of Academy Award nominations are released late in the year--quite possibly to generate the maximum amount of buzz to get a nomination.

Once they get nominated, their advertising includes the fact that they have been nominated (to generate more box office receipts) and if they actually receive an award, their advertising uses that fact to get more people to see it.

Makes me wonder how much of the Academy Awards is about maximizing box office revenue for films people wouldn't necessarily go and see on their own?
51 weeks ago
51 weeks ago Link To Comment
The Oscars are an empty gesture, made by Hollywood.

What part of, "I'm ready for my closeup now, Mister DeMille" did you not understand?

These people absolutely require external validation and they are more than willing to give themselves a proxy for it if they can't get the real thing.

I see that most of the nominees are films that those of us of the unwashed and unenlightened stayed away from in vast herds.
52 weeks ago
52 weeks ago Link To Comment
I thought "Captain Phillips" and Tom Hanks deserved more recognition. It was a well written, riveting film and it did feature some black actors. Of course they were either killed or went to prison so I guess that didn't sit well with the Academy folks.
52 weeks ago
52 weeks ago Link To Comment
Sundog - exactly! +1
52 weeks ago
52 weeks ago Link To Comment
For many years I've questioned "box office dollars" - I want to know how many tickets were sold.

What if the Yankees or Cowboys reported their attendance by "Box Office Dollars"? They could have half-empty stadiums and still report staggering dollar figures.

I'm just curious if the number of attendees grows proportionally to the population, or if increasing ticket prices make up the record box office figure for the next blockbuster.

Just wondering...
52 weeks ago
52 weeks ago Link To Comment
All the movies mentioned in the above article are Hollywood films - the ones nominated and the ones that made $200+ million. So I don't really understand the point of the article.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Good points many of you are making and this piece was meant to stimulate discussion. I also think it should be noted that out of the nine Best Picture nominees only two ranked in the top 25 highest grossing films of 2013.
Does that bolster the argument that there may be SOME DISCONNECT between Hollywood and "the folks?"
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I'd say the disconnect is in the heads of the American people.

That might be MY bias, as the last movie I saw in a theater was Apollo 13, some fifteen years or more ago.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Where do most top grossing films come from? Hollywood! Clearly they're on to something. They're just not running a people's choice awards competition, they're polling a different jury. I'm more struck by the hypocrisy factor -- like lobbying for gun control while making money on shoot 'em up films -- than by any putative disconnect.

I think you're making a stand on the wrong hill -- unless you're inclined to argue that the Academy's membership should be a more accurate demographic reflection of the public at large. That would certainly be novel coming from the right.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
To be honest, I am totally ticked off that the Academy snubbed Lone Survivor. That was an amazing film and honored our fallen heros.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
In any case, you've made me wish that I'd bought a ticket to see it in the theater, instead of waiting to stream it at home!
52 weeks ago
52 weeks ago Link To Comment
Well, that works both ways doesn't it.

As someone who once owned every appearance by Iron Man in a comic in the first 12 years of the characters existence, I hated all the Iron Man movies because they are junk. They point up the dangers of hiring a big time actor: you're going to have to pander to his screen time as an actor rather than serve the story. Downey is great, but he's not why I go to see something like Iron Man. He sucks the space out of the story.

As a science fiction fan I yawned at The Hunger Games.

I liked Gravity very much but it is not very interesting SF. To me having Bullock press buttons using manuals is far less interesting than what SF literature would've done: have her use her own knowledge of mathematics and applying that to orbital ballistics to solve the problems herself. Take away the unique cinematics and there is little left, although I admit the visuals employed a fundamental sense of wonder often forgotten in SF film.

The Hobbit was okay if you like your taffy stretched, but still pretty good. No Oscar territory there.

Fast and Furious is fast food junk for children. The old First Men in the Moon is a cinematic achievement compared to that and no one was ready to vote FMM an Oscar.

Oz was a disaster.
(show less)
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Good to see some well-argued pushback in the comments.
I'd like to add a couple of points:
First, as a measure of popular appeal, i'd think that IMDb ratings are more reliable than gross intake.
Second, judging by the movies i've seen in the above lists, i'm closer to the Oscar voters than to the median US cinemagoer.
My favorites would be: Gravity, Wolf of Wall St, American Hustle; in no particular order.
Of course i realize that Wolf of Wall St is, er... not a family movie.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
“Should success at the box office impact whether a movie deserves to be nominated or to win Best Picture?”

Popularity doesn't make something good. I would have thought Obama's re-election proved that.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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