A Look at What the “Most Popular” Lineups Would Have Been Since 2009

Yesterday, the Academy of Arts and Sciences (AMPAS), the group responsible for the Oscar announced they’ll be running a new category for “Achievement in Popular Filmmaking.” Beyond the fact that it is insulting to potential blockbuster films to be labeled as a different type of film, many have immediately worried that the Academy will go to popcorn flicks like “Transformers” or “Jurassic World.” Honestly, that’d be dumb, but I also think that would at least potentially invite some fans of some movies to the table. However, I don’t believe this is going to go the way the Academy thinks it. In fact, I think for the most part, I think they’re just going to nominate the same films they would have nominated in other categories anyway. Don’t believe me? Let’s look at.

I started in 2009, which was the year the Best Picture lineup expanded to try to fix the fact that the Academy left out “Wall-E” and “The Dark Knight.”  My basis for what qualified as a popular film was two-fold.  First, the film had to get at least $100 Million at the Domestic box office. If it didn’t get to that number, I eliminated it. This disqualified films like “Lady Bird,” “Blade Runner 2049” and “John Wick 2.” The RT score also eliminated high money makers, like “Alice in Wonderland” or “Transformers 2, 3, and 4“, because the Oscars are still going to nominate quality films regardless of what the category is called. Below are the films they would have nominated, along with the

2009

Avatar” – $749.7 Million; 83% RT  (9 Nominations, 3 Wins, BP Nominee) *LIKELY WINNER

The Hangover” – $277.3 Million; 79% RT (0 Nominations)

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” – $301.9 Million; 84% RT (1 Nomination)

Star Trek” – $257.7; 94% RT (4 Nominations, 1 Win)

Up” – $293 Mil, 98% RT (5 Nominations, 2 Wins, Best Picture Nominee)

Alts: “Inglourious Basterds,” “Sherlock Holmes,” “The Blind Side” (only 67% RT, but did get a BP nomination and made $260 Mil), “District 9,” “Paranormal Activity”

Total BP Nominees Over $100 Million: 4/10

2010

Black Swan” – $106.9 Mil; 86% RT (5 Nominations, 1 Win, BP Nom)

How to Train Your Dragon” – $217 Mil; 98% RT (2 Nominations)

Inception” – $292.5 Mil;  86% RT (8 Nominations, 4 Wins, BP Nom)  

The King’s Speech” – $135 Mil; 95% RT (12 Nominations, 4 Wins, BP WINNER)

Toy Story 3” – $415 Mil; 99% RT (5 Nominations, 2 Wins, BP Nom) *LIKELY WINNER

ALT: “Iron Man 2,” “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1,” “True Grit,” “Alice in Wonderland” (This year had notoriously bad $100 million movies).

Total BP Nominees Over $100 Million: 5/10 (Social Network had a $96 Mil B.O.)

2011

* This is the Year the 5% BP Rule Goes Into Effect. Immediately, $100 Million BP Noms Drop

Bridesmaids” – $169 MIl; 90% RT (2 Nominations)

Fast Five” – 209.8 Mil; 77% RT (0 Nominations)

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2” – $381 Mil; 96% RT (3 Nominations)

The Help” – $169.7 Mil; 75% RT (4 Nominations, 1 Win, BP Nom) *LIKELY WINNER

Rise of the Planet of the Apes” – $176.6 Mil; 81% (1 Nom)

ALTS:  “Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol,” “Rango,” “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,” “Thor,” “Captain America: The First Avenger”

Total BP Nominees Over $100 Million: 1/9

2012

Argo” –  $136 Mil; 96% RT (7 Noms, 3 Wins, BP WINNER)

Life of Pi” – $124 Mil; 87% RT (11 Noms, 4 Wins, BP Nom)

Marvel’s The Avengers” – $634.3 Mil; 92% RT (1 Nom)

Silver Linings Playbook” – $132 Mil; 92% RT (8 Noms, 1 Win, BP Nom)

Skyfall” – $304.3 Mil; 92% RT (5 Noms, 2 Wins)

Alts: “The Dark Knight Rises,” “The Hunger Games,” “Brave,” “Ted,” “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,” “”Lincoln,” “Wreck-It-Ralph,” “Les Mis,” “21 Jump Street,” “The Amazing Spider-Man”

Total BP Nominees Over $100 Million: 6/9

2013

American Hustle” – $150 Mil; 93% RT (10 Nominations, BP Nom)

Captain Phillips” – $107 Mil; 93% RT (6 Nominations, BP Nom)

Frozen” – $400.7 Mil; 90% RT (2 Nominations, 2 Wins)

Gravity” – $274 Mil; 96 RT (10 Nominations, 7 Wins, BP Nom) *LIKELY WINNER

The Wolf of Wall Street” – $116.9 Mil; 78% RT (5 Nominations, BP Nom)

ALT: “Lone Survivor,” “The Great Gatsby,” “Lee Daniel’s The Butler, ” “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” “Iron Man 3,” “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire,” “This is the End”

Total BP Nominees Over $100 Million: 4/9

2014

American Sniper” – $350 Mil; 72% RT (6 Nominations, 1 Win, BP Nom) *LIKELY WINNER

Big Hero Six” – $222 Mil; 89% RT (1 Nomination, 1 Win)

Captain America: The Winter Soldier” – $259 Mil; 89% RT (1 Nomination)

Guardians of the Galaxy” – $333 Mil; 91% RT (2 Nominations)

Interstellar” – $188 Mil;  71% RT (5 Nominations, 1 Win)

Alts: “How to Train Your Dragon 2,” “The Lego Movie,” “Gone Girl,” “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes,” “Godzilla,” “22 Jump Street” “Unbroken,” “Into the Woods,” “Edge of Tomorrow” “The Fault in Our Stars”

Total BP Nominees Over $100 Million: 1/8

2015

Inside Out“- $356 Mil; 98% RT (2 Nominations,  1 Win)

Mad Max: Fury Road” – $153 Mil; 97% RT (10 Nominations, 6 Wins, BP Nom) *LIKELY WINNER

The Martian” – $228 Mil; 91% RT (7 Nominations, BP Nom)

The Revenant” – $183.6 Mil; 80% RT (12 Nominations, 3 Wins, BP Nom)

Star Wars: The Force Awakens” – $936 Mil; 93% RT (5 Nominations)

Alts: “Straight Outta Compton,” “Creed,” “Spy,” “Kingsman: The Secret Service,” “Trainwreck,” “Cinderella,” “Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation,” “Ant-Man,” “Furious 7,” “Jurassic World,” “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2”

Total BP Nominees Over $100 Million: 3/8

2016

Arrival” – $100 Mil; 94% RT (8 Nominations, 1 Win, BP Nom)

Deadpool” – $363 Mil; 83% RT (0 Nominations)

Hidden Figures” – $169 Mil;  93% RT (3 Nominations, BP Nom)

La La Land” – $151 Mil; 92% RT (14 Nominations, 6 Wins, BP Nom) *LIKELY WINNER

The Jungle Book” – $364 Mil; 95% RT (1 Nomination, 1 Win)

Alts: “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,” “Zootopia,” “Moana,” “Sully”

Total BP Nominees Over $100 Million: 3/9

2017

Coco” – $209 Mil; 97% RT (2 Nominations, 2 Win)

Dunkirk” – $188 Mil; 92% RT (8 Nominations, 3 Wins, BP Nomination)

Logan” – $226 Mil; 93% RT (1 Nomination)

Get Out” – $176 Mil; 99% RT (4 Nominations, 1 Win, BP Nomination) *LIKELY WINNER

Star Wars: The Last Jedi” – $620 Mil; 90% RT (4 Nominations)

Alts: “Baby Driver,” “It,” “The Greatest Showman,” “War for the Planet of the Apes,” “Wonder Woman”

Total BP Nominees Over $100 Million: 2/9

2018 Projection

Avengers: Infinity War” – $678 Mil;  83% RT

Black Panther” – $700 Mil; 97% RT *LIKELY WINNER

Incredibles 2” – $584 Mil (and counting); 94% RT

Mission Impossible: Fallout” – $134 Mil (and counting); 97% RT

A Quiet Place” – $188 Mil; 95% RT

Alts:  “Ready Player One,” “Deadpool 2,” “Ant-Man and the Wasp”

Based on my nominations, only 3 films would have earned the Oscar-nominated status that did not already have that status. Also, the 5% rule has clearly hurt box office hits from getting into the Best Picture race. From “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II,” to “Straight Outta Compton,” there are at least a half-dozen films that missed without having 10 nominations. If the issue at hand is not rewarding big money earners, then maybe we just need a straight 10 again.

What do you think of these potential nominations? Which films do you think would have jumped in? Let us know in the comments below! 

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