USA Today teamed up with Fandango to poll the public on who they would award best picture to at the 2015 Academy Awards if they were granted a vote. The results of the poll are not too surprising if you followed the news or looked at box office results in the past few months. Patriotism bleeds through. From USA Today:
In a poll of more than 1,000 moviegoers conducted by movie-ticket site Fandango.com for USA TODAY, American Sniper was the clear favorite for the film they thought deserved to take home the Academy Awards’ top prize at Sunday’s ceremony. It ranked No. 1 with 36% of cinephiles who said they had seen all eight nominees.
By contrast, the two Oscar front-runners — Boyhood and Birdman — tied for fourth with 10% each. The Imitation Game (15%) and Selma (11%) were second and third respectively, while The Grand Budapest Hotel (8%), The Theory of Everything (6%) and Whiplash (4%) rounded out the list.
If American Sniper goes on to win best picture, it would be the first in a while to show such success at the box office while garnering awards on the big night. For comparison, USA Today touts The Hurt Locker’s success at the Oscars, but it’s modest returns at the box office. They spoke to Rentrak analyst Paul Dergarabedian about what this means regarding public views on film:
Dergarabedian sees the discrepancy between Sniper and the rest of the field as symptomatic of a bigger issue: that the public is mostly supporting movies that are part of franchises or known brands, such as Sniper director Clint Eastwood, rather than prestige indies.
“If audiences in general aren’t willing to take a risk on what they go out to see,” Dergarabedian says, “they’re certainly not taking a risk on esoteric movies about a mathematician during World War II or Stephen Hawking or a lot of these types of movies that really speak to what the Oscar is supposed to be about.”
It’s an interesting conundrum but not necessarily a bad one, he adds. “It’s supposed to be about the best movies. It’s not the People’s Choice Awards. It’s not the Box Office Awards. It’s the Oscars.”
The last movie that comes to mind to run this kind of dual race between box office and critical acclaim was Gladiator back in 2000. It came out in May of 2000, lasted the entire summer, and then took the big awards at the Oscars the following year. Sniper has made a lot more at the box office, but it is yet to be seen if it can hold up to the sometimes stuffy Oscar voters.
Dergarabedian is right, though, this is not the People’s Choice Awards. If it was, we’d probably see a lot more Tyler Perry at the Kodak Theater and a best actor nod for Vin Diesel as Groot (which I’m for).
(Via USA Today)