Best Picture Oscar Nominees Are Split Between the Box Office Haves and Have-Nots (2023)

Three films among last year’s top 15 highest grossing films were nominated while three others combined for less than $30 million domestic

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“The Way of Water” and “Maverick,” of course, are the highest grossing films of the year, combining for over $1.3 billion domestic and nearly $3.5 billion worldwide. “Elvis” is farther down the list with $151 million domestic and $287 million global, but it was able to reignite interest in its legendary subject and drive consistent turnout from moviegoers over the age of 50.

But on the other end of the spectrum are Steven Spielberg’s “The Fabelmans,” Martin McDonagh’s “The Banshees of Inisherin,” and Todd Field’s “Tár” — three films that were critically acclaimed festival darlings and have, combined, grossed less than $30 million in North America. Joining them from the arthouse scene are Sarah Polley’s “Women Talking,” which is currently in theaters in limited release with $1.1 million grossed; Ruben Ostlund’s Palme D’Or winner “Triangle of Sadness,” which grossed $4.2 million domestic last fall, and Edward Berger’s “All Quiet on the Western Front,” which is a Netflix streaming exclusive.

“Fabelmans” and “Inisherin,” in particular, show how much prestige films have fallen off in terms of theatrical performance when compared to past Spielberg and McDonagh films that got Oscar recognition.

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In 2018, Spielberg’s historical thriller “The Post” grossed $81 million domestic and $193 million worldwide, starting with a limited release during the holiday season before expanding to 2,850 theaters in mid-January.

Best Picture Oscar Nominees Are Split Between the Box Office Haves and Have-Nots (2)

“The Fabelmans,” by contrast, has grossed just $14.9 million in North America and needs a strong overseas run in the coming weeks to even make back its $40 million production budget.

Spielberg’s autobiographical drama is the sort of reliable, accessible adult fare that could make a decent amount of money even in the late 2010s, but its screen count never exceeded 1,200 theaters. Its five-day Thanksgiving weekend total of $3.1 million from 638 theaters was beaten by the $4.2 million earned by the Tom Hanks dramedy “A Man Called Otto” when it had almost the same screen count in early January.

Boxoffice editor Daniel Loria believes the slower release rollout that Universal attempted didn’t help “The Fabelmans,” but also believes that the film’s premise didn’t align with what audiences want even in an accessible adult drama.

“Even before the pandemic, I think Spielberg making a movie about his childhood would have been a harder sell than ‘The Post’ or ‘Bridge of Spies,'” he said. “Those films had a thriller element that make them more appealing to audiences than a quiet film about Spielberg’s family and how he got into filmmaking.”

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In November 2017, McDonagh’s “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” had a $5.8 million Thanksgiving weekend total and legged out to $54.5 million in North America. The film never cracked the top 5 on the box office charts or had a screen count of more than 1,620 theaters, but it didn’t need to. It was able to maintain low but steady turnout all the way through Oscar Sunday, the sort that awards contenders aim to have when they hit theaters in early November.

But in a post-COVID world the shortening of the theatrical window, the declining interest in seeing prestige films in theaters, and the plummeting cultural relevance of awards shows have quickly sapped away all the factors that allowed a film like “Three Billboards” to find box office success. “The Banshees of Inisherin” has shown that, with a maximum screen count of just under 900 theaters and a peak weekend total of just $2 million.

Best Picture Oscar Nominees Are Split Between the Box Office Haves and Have-Nots (4)

Released in late October, “Inisherin” was essentially finished in U.S. theaters by Thanksgiving, grossing $9.3 million domestic. Like “The Fabelmans,” Searchlight will try to find some extra theatrical revenue from overseas moviegoers with a post-Oscar nomination international rollout in markets like Italy, Spain, Brazil and Scandinavia. But even in the U.K. and Ireland, where the film had its best performance, its $11.3 million total failed to reach the $20.9 million of “Three Billboards.”

The market for the sort of critically acclaimed dramas that regularly make the Best Picture list has continued to get squeezed from all sides, with studios struggling to figure out how to market such high-brow affair — or even middlebrow in the case of “Fabelmans” — to an audience that’s more comfortable with seeing such films on streaming or digital on-demand. And with the Oscars losing their cultural clout, even that audience may be shrinking as well.

“Once you cut off that theatrical window, you take away the time that films like ‘Inisherin’ need to build the word-of-mouth to make them theatrically successful. That’s how someone who saw a film in platform release in L.A. tells their Middle America relatives over the holidays that they should see when it comes to theaters where they live,” Loria said.

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Ironically, the one Best Picture contender that defies categorization between major studio, wide release hit, and struggling prestige title is the one that got the most nominations: Daniels’ “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” which this past spring became the first A24 release to gross over $100 million worldwide.

Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert’s genre-bending film didn’t top the end-of-year charts but punched well above its indie weight class thanks purely to organic word-of-mouth. Released wide in April 2022, well outside the usual awards season release period, it didn’t need Oscar buzz to draw interest. Rather, like “Top Gun: Maverick,” it got Oscar buzz because of its widespread popularity, something that regularly happened before mainstream and Academy voter tastes dramatically diverged.

While there was already some mass appeal, wide release offerings on the 2023 slate that might find their way onto next year’s nominee list — Denis Villeneuve’s “Dune: Part Two” and Christopher Nolan’s “Oppenheimer” come to mind — there’s no guarantee that a film like “Top Gun: Maverick” or “Everything Everywhere” will prove to be both a box office success and a major awards player.

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What’s more certain, given recent history and the tastes of the Academy, is that a film from Toronto or Venice will get that nomination. Maybe it will be Martin Scorsese’s “Killers of the Flower Moon” or Bradley Cooper’s Leonard Bernstein biopic “Maestro.” Maybe it will be another buzzy festival title that isn’t currently on anyone’s radar.

But when it comes time for that type of film to hit theaters, all signs point to it yielding the box office scraps that “The Fabelmans” earned rather than the modestly successful Best Picture winners of recent pre-pandemic memory.

“The new formula that studios and distributors have put together coming out of the pandemic isn’t working for these kinds of festival movies,” Loria said. “It’s the system that has come together in response to streaming demand and to getting audiences in theaters for more populist films, but the more artistic and thought-provoking stuff is getting left behind.”

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FAQs

How did James McAvoy not win an award for split? ›

Originally Answered: Why was James Mcavoy not nominated for an Oscar for his acting in the movie SPLIT? The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences collectively liked five acting performances more than James McAvoy's in Split (2016) , and so they didn't nominate him.

Who will win Best Picture 2023? ›

Best Picture
  • The Banshees of Inisherin.
  • TÁR.
  • Elvis.
  • Top Gun: Maverick.
  • Avatar: The Way of Water.
  • All Quiet on the Western Front.
  • Women Talking.
  • Babylon.
13 hours ago

Did split win any Academy Awards? ›

No, the movie Split did not win any Oscars. However, the San Diego Film Critic Awards honored James McAvoy with an award for best actor for his role as The Horde, a man with 23 distinctive personalities.

Why is Split not a good representation of DID? ›

Movie 'Split' Does Harm to People with Dissociative Identity Disorder, Experts Say. The film “Split” depicts a violent kidnapper with dissociative identity disorder. Experts say it's not an accurate portrayal of people living with the illness.

What is the controversy about Split? ›

Though Split was lauded as a movie, it was slammed for its nightmarish portrayal of DID, and for perpetuating stereotypes that those with DID are violent. Studies show that people with DID are more likely to hurt themselves than others.

What is the lowest rated Best Picture winner? ›

The 40 Lowest-Rated Best Picture Nominees Of All Time
  • #8. Hello, Dolly! ( 1969) ...
  • #7. The Hollywood Revue (1929) 43% ...
  • #6. Anne of the Thousand Days (1969) 38% ...
  • #5. The Broadway Melody (1929) 42% #5. ...
  • #4. The Robe (1953) 38% #4. ...
  • #3. Blossoms in the Dust (1941) 33% #3. ...
  • #2. Doctor Dolittle (1967) 29% #2. ...
  • #1. Anthony Adverse (1936) 20% #1.

What is the longest movie to win Best Picture? ›

1. 'Gone with the Wind' (1940) – 233 minutes.

What is the shortest Best Picture winner? ›

Marty (1955) was the shortest Best Picture winner at 91 minutes (1 hour, 31 minutes), followed by Annie Hall (1977) at 93 minutes. The shortest Best Picture nominee was Mae West's She Done Him Wrong (1933) at 66 minutes.

Was Split a box office success? ›

Split was a commercial success, grossing $278 million worldwide on a budget of $9 million.

Why do people want the movie Split removed? ›

A new petition on Change.org is gathering traction in an attempt to 'Get Split off Netflix'. The reason for the petition is because Split unfairly portrays people with dissociative identity disorder as predators and villains.

What two actors refused Oscars? ›

Academy apologizes to Sacheen Littlefeather, who refused an Oscar on Marlon Brando's behalf. Sacheen Littlefeather, who refused an Academy Award on Marlon Brando's behalf, will receive a formal apology from the Academy at an event next month. Sacheen Littlefeather had only 60 seconds to speak at the 1973 Academy Awards ...

What iconic actor has never won an Academy? ›

Famous A-List Actors That Have Surprisingly Never Won an Oscar
  1. 1 Toni Collette. PalmStar Media.
  2. 2 Samuel L. Jackson. ...
  3. 3 John Goodman. Gramercy Pictures. ...
  4. 4 Amy Adams. Columbia Pictures. ...
  5. 5 Laurence Fishburne. Warner Bros. ...
  6. 6 Robert Downey Jr. Paramount Pictures. Robert Downey Jr. is Iron Man, and Tony Stark is Robert Downey Jr. ...
Sep 4, 2022

Has any actor won 2 Oscars in a row? ›

Tom Hanks (USA) won Best Actor Academy Awards in two consecutive Oscar ceremonies (held in 1994 and 1995) for Philadelphia (USA, 1993) and Forrest Gump (USA, 1994), a record he shares with Spencer Tracy (USA), who won Best Actor in 1938 and 1939 for Captains Courageous (USA, 1937) and Boys Town (USA, 1938), ...

How true is the movie Split? ›

According to ScreenRant, the main character of the film was inspired by the life of Billy Milligan, who came to notice as the first person to use his multiple personalities disorder as a defence in the court in the United States of America.

What is the moral of Split? ›

The mind is very powerful. In SPLIT, the main character said towards the end of the movie,”We are what we believe we are”, I agree wholeheartedly. If you have faith and confidence in yourself and truly believe that you can achieve what you set out to, then you can.

How does splitting work DID? ›

In the older theory, splitting occurs when an existing alter (or, in the beginning, a terrified and traumatized child) denies what is happening to them; denies and rejects their own memories, thoughts, emotions, perceptions, or reactions; or denies that they are the individual present at a given time (i.e., convinces ...

Why DID they kidnap the girls in Split? ›

Kevin kidnaps three teenage girls in order to use them as human sacrifices for his emerging 24th personality, ominously monikered “The Beast.” Kevin's therapist is focused on not seeing her patients as broken or ill, but rather as extraordinary in the sense that people like Kevin could be the key to the untapped ...

What personality disorder is in Split? ›

The movie centers on Kevin Wendell Crumb (James McAvoy), a man with 23 different personalities. His psychiatrist, Dr. Karen Fletcher, states that he was diagnosed with what is called dissociative identity disorder (DID).

What are the weaknesses of the movie Split? ›

The issues are found in how good the beginning of the movie is, how bad the middle is, and how tolerable the ending is. Split is incredibly inconsistent in camera movement, soundtrack, story, tone and message, all resulting in a very muddy movie which will leave audience members more puzzled than anything.

DID James McAvoy get an award for the movie Split? ›

James McAvoy

DID James McAvoy not get a script for my son? ›

James McAvoy took a very unique approach to his performance in My Son. During filming for director and co-writer Christian Carion's remake of his own 2017 French film, McAvoy was the only member of the cast to not be given a script.

What condition does James McAvoy have in Split? ›

Split is a 2016 American psychological thriller film written, directed and produced by M. Night Shyamalan, and starring James McAvoy, Anya Taylor-Joy, and Betty Buckley. The film follows a man with dissociative identity disorder who kidnaps and imprisons three teenage girls in an isolated underground facility.

Who was the guy at the end of Split at the diner? ›

Bruce Willis reprised his Unbreakable role as superhuman security guard David Dunn in a scene at the end of the film, sipping a cup of coffee in a diner.

Was Split a success? ›

Split, in particular, is a huge win for the genre. The Universal Pictures and Blumhouse Productions movie is the highest-grossing horror since The Conjuring in 2013, and it still has some shelf life in the theaters.

Do actors have to know their entire script before filming? ›

But actors rarely memorize the entire script before the filming starts. They become familiar with the text and then memorize parts of the script one by one as the filming goes on. Remember that actors need to read the script multiple times before they start rehearsing.

Which classic 80s films script was rejected over 40 times? ›

Back To The Future's script was rejected over 40 times, according to screenwriter.

How much of My Son was improvised? ›

Chatting about the film, he explained: "The entire film for me was improvised – the rest of the cast and crew had a script and had all been rehearsing with each other and another actor playing me for weeks.

What are the 23 identities in Split? ›

The names of the 23 identities are (in order of the computer files): Barry, Jade, Orwell, Kevin, Heinrich, Norma, Goddard, Dennis, Hedwig, Bernice, Patricia, Polly, Luke, Rakel, Felida, Ansel, Jalin, Kat, B.T., Samuel, Mary Reynolds, Ian and Mr. Pritchard.

What disorder does the main character in Split have? ›

Producer and director M. Night Shyamalan and producers Marc Bienstock and Jason Blum's (2016) latest film, Split, is a horror thriller where the main character Kevin, played by James McAvoy, suffers from dissociative identity disorder (DID) and kidnaps three teenage girls.

Is Split insensitive? ›

The -iSplit and -split operators are case-insensitive.

Why is splitting a movie good? ›

A nicely crafted thriller that sinks its hooks into its audiences early, it's a deft blend of tension, emotion and dark humor. What's more, Shyamalan pulls it off without the late-act gimmicks that so boosted films like "The Sixth Sense" but which began wearing thin in some of his subsequent movies.

Who abused the girl in Split? ›

However, upon Casey's shirt being ripped off in their final struggle, it is revealed that she has scars on her stomach—scars caused by self-inflicted harm and cutting. As it's been confirmed earlier in the picture, Casey was abused repeatedly over the years by her uncle.

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