Breakdown of The 2019 Oscar Best Picture Nominees
The Oscars are quickly approaching, and everyone is guessing who will win. To try and help you win your Oscar Madness pool (The Nerdcast aren’t the only ones that do a March Madness-style pool for the Oscars right? Right?), I decided to break down the Best Picture category this year. To assist me in this task, I pulled two user rating aggregates and two critic rating aggregates to see if we can provide some insight into who might win the big prize this year.
The user scores I chose are the iMDb user score and the Rotten Tomatoes audience score. iMDb lets users assign a score out of 10 and Rotten Tomatoes lets them assign a score out of 100. I was going to include CinemaScore scores for each film, but that proved difficult for two reasons. First, they grade each movie A to F instead of assigning a number score, and second, they don’t have scores for movies that opened in less than 1,500 theaters opening weekend, meaning no score for The Favourite, Green Book, or Roma. For the critics’ score, I decided to use Metacritic’s Metascore and Rotten Tomatoes’ Tomatometer, which both provide a score out of 100. The combination of these scores should give us a pretty good basis to draw an average of the opinion of each movie.
To come up with the average, I converted the iMDb users’ score to be out of 100 instead of out of 10 and then took a simple average of the four scores. I considered weighing the critics’ reviews a little heavier than the users’ scores to try and get a better idea what the Academy might do, but decided against that, as it opens too many possibilities to adjust the numbers to get a certain movie as the winner.
Let’s go ahead and check the numbers as they turned out and then we’ll talk a little about them. You can see the table below:
|Movie||iMDb Users||Rott. Tom. Users||Metacritic||Rotten Tomatoes||Average|
|A Star is Born||8||81||88||90||84.75|
Based on the numbers, the favorite this year isn’t The Favourite, but instead Roma with an average score of 89. After that, you have three movies that scored very close to one another with A Star is Born, Black Panther, and BlacKkKlansman scoring 84.75, 84.5, and 84 respectively. I was surprised by the low scores for Vice and Bohemian Rhapsody. Vice scored low in both critics’ and users’ scores, while the critics’ reception of Bohemian Rhapsody hurt its overall rating. It looks as though Netflix might make a breakthrough win with their first movie nominated for Best Picture. I wonder if a studio has even won a Best Picture Oscar with its first movie nominated?
If we take a quick average of the users’ scores and compare them to an average of the critics’ score, we notice some large differences between the users’ scores and the critics’ scores at play. We all know that critics and audiences don’t always see eye-to-eye… okay, they rarely see eye to eye. But this year there are only 3 of the 8 movies that have a difference of 10 points or fewer between their audience and critic score averages. BlacKkKlansman, A Star is Born, and Vice, have a difference 10, 8.5, and 0 points respectively, with the critics scoring BlacKkKlansman and A Star is Born higher than the audience.
On the other end of the spectrum, Bohemian Rhapsody presents an interesting discussion here. The users rated Bohemian Rhapsody over 30 points better than the critics did! That’s crazy to me. Taking into account that Metacritic and Rotten Tomatoes use some of the same critic reviews and that some users scored the movie on both Rotten Tomatoes and iMDb, that is still over 340 critic reviews and 195,000 user reviews. So it’s not like there are so few scores that a few outliers are dragging the scores in a certain direction. The critics thought it was a perfectly average to a below average movie, scoring it a 55 out of 100, making it the lowest rated movie in the category for the critics. Meanwhile users scored it all the way up at 86, the second highest rating for users. I wish we would get to see the total voting results to see where Bohemian Rhapsody finishes (I don’t think it will win so we won’t know where it ranked in the voting).
If we look at the critic and audience scores separately, we see that there is only one overlap between the top three from each section. The critics have a top three of Roma, Black Panther, and The Favourite, while users have a top three of Green Book, Bohemian Rhapsody, and Roma, making it obvious why Roma is the overall top-reviewed movie in the category this year. Before we make a pick, I want to pause to go back and look at the score for the last few winners to see if we can find a trend.
|Movie||iMdb Users||Rott. Tom. Users||Metacritic||Rotten Tomatoes||Average|
|The Shape of Water||7.4||73||87||92||81.5|
|12 Years a Slave||8.1||90||96||95||90.5|
We can see a couple trends from the last 5 years. First, the winner has never had a higher user rating than the critic rating. That would rule out Bohemian Rhapsody and Green Book for this year. Second, no score was lower than a 73, so that would rule out Vice and The Favourite. That leaves only four films left and they all fit the last trend we see over the last five years: they all have critic scores over 87. Looking at the data from the last five years and pulling movies out based on trends, we’ll likely end up with a winner from these four: Black Panther, BlacKkKlansman, Roma, and A Star is Born.
I would love to see A Star is Born or BlacKkKlansman win, as they were both great movies, but I don’t think either will. Before looking at all these numbers I thought that we’d see The Favourite take home the statue in a surprise win. And while the Oscars always have some surprises, looking at the numbers it would seem like our winner this year will be Roma, because it is well reviewed and the Academy loves Cauron. A win for Roma would certainly open a lot of doors going forward, prompting more movies from Netflix and Amazon to start showing up during award season. If you want to win your Oscar Madness pool, that smart money is on Roma for the win. But if you’re feeling risky, I think Black Panther would be a good choice if you want to pick something different than everyone else, but still have a chance.