One of the Academy’s biggest obstacles to improving its Oscar ratings is that its members typically don’t nominate mainstream movie hits for best picture.
The group’s younger, more diverse & very global membership prefers critically acclaimed specialty dramas from filmmakers who are familiar festival faces. Unfortunately, these aren’t the films audiences are seeing in theatres. In some cases, they have only limited theatrical runs or none at all because they’re streaming. Without a rooting interest in who wins, audiences have much less interest in the Oscars.
An exception to this came in 2019 when one of the best picture noms went to BLACK PANTHER. ABC’s telecast averaged 29.56 million people, up 12% from 2018. Although BP lost to GREEN BOOK, it boosted Oscar’s ratings just by being in the race.
The 95th Oscars could benefit from having a best picture nominee blockbuster that audiences would love to see win — Paramount/Skydance’s TOP GUN: MAVERICK, which has a serious buzz going for best picture & lead actor for Tom Cruise. Rotten Tomatoes critics love it with 96% & audience 99%, which reflects its $1.5B global gross.
If Oscar voters put MAVERICK in the best picture race, the Academy could show ABC there’s still one awards telecast that can deliver the goods.