A blockbuster film is a huge asset to any movie studio, but they often cause Oscar voters to turn up their noses. On rare occasions a film that crushes the box office will strike the right artistic chord with academy too, or become too big to ignore. Last year “The Martian” and “Mad Max: Fury Road” were box office smashes that turned into academy darlings, with the latter taking home six trophies. Which of this year’s box office phenomena will perform best at the Oscars? Vote in our poll below.
Perhaps the most obvious candidate is the newest film on the block. “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” opened on December 16 and amassed an astounding $155 million domestically in its opening weekend alone (worldwide it has made $339 million as of this writing). Disney is hoping to bolster its first standalone film in the “Star Wars” franchise by adding some Oscar hardware to the monumental grosses. According to Gold Derby’s combined odds, the film is on track for four nominations: Visual Effects, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing and Score.
Gold Derby is also predicting four nominations for another franchise offshoot: “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.” This “Harry Potter” prequel performed impressively in theaters despite the absence of “Harry Potter” in the title. J.K. Rowling’s hit has grossed $209 million domestically and counting, and a robust $720 million worldwide. Our combined odds rank it well enough for nominations in Makeup and Hairstyling, Production Design, Visual Effects and Costume Design.
Disney has a pair of animated blockbusters that could score multiple nominations. “Moana” is the more recent release, and is expected to appear in Animated Feature and Song (“How Far I’ll Go”). If voters want to hop on the Lin-Manuel Miranda bandwagon, they could nominate a second tune he penned for the film (“We Know the Way”). This Polynesian adventure starring Dwayne Johnson was released on November 23 and has accumulated a domestic gross of $168 million already.
The domestic gross for “Moana” would make most studios happy, but Disney hit the animation jackpot earlier this year with “Zootopia.” Critics and audiences alike warmed to the film’s message of equality and inclusiveness, enough for a $341 million domestic gross. That number is impressive enough, but it balloons to over $1 billion when you count all its global receipts. It’s predicted to win Animated Feature and to compete against “Moana” for Song (“Try Anything”).
Hopefully you haven’t tired of the Mouse House yet, because they have yet another box office juggernaut in play. Jon Favreau’s live action “The Jungle Book” sits in first place for Visual Effects according to our odds. The re-imagining of the classic story on the bubble in six other categories: Film Editing (ninth place), Score (seventh place), Cinematography (12th place), Production Design (sixth place), Sound Editing (sixth place) and Sound Mixing (six place). The film was a family-friendly hit, to the tune of a $364 million domestically, and a massive $966 million worldwide.
What blockbuster do you think will have the best Oscar chances this year? And are we underestimating other top grossers like “Finding Dory,” “Captain America: Civil War,” “Doctor Strange” or “Deadpool”? Vote in our poll below, and make your Oscar predictions.
Be sure to make your Oscar predictions. Weigh in now with your picks so that Hollywood insiders can see how each film is faring in our Oscar odds. You can keep changing your predictions right up until just before nominations are announced on January 24 at 5:00 am PT/8:00 am ET. Be sure to read our contest rules. And join in the fierce debate over the Oscars taking place right now with Hollywood insiders in our forums.