Oscar flashback: Do films with most other wins usually take Best Picture?

As you can see from the chart above, only twice in the past decade did another film win a greater number of Oscars than the Best Picture champ. In 2012 “Life Of Pi” claimed four to three for “Argo” while in 2013 it was “Gravity” that took home seven Oscars to just three for “12 Years a Slave.”  The other eight years are split into two equal parts: on four occasions, the Best Picture winner had the most Oscars outright while the four times it tied for most with at least one other film. The average number of Oscars won by these 10 Best Picture winners is 4.4. The preferential ballot, reintroduced in 2009, has had quite an effect in this particular strand of Oscarology as it favors wide-spread love as opposed to passion. 

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Only two of the past decade’s Best Picture champs have won six or more Oscars: “The Hurt Locker” had an even half dozen (Picture, Director, Original Screenplay, Film Editing, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing) while “Slumdog Millionaire” won eight (Picture, Director, Adapted Screenplay, Film Editing, Cinematography, Score, Song and Sound Mixing). Even if one were to say ‘five or more Oscars’ instead of six, that’s still only three films in 10 years, with “The Artist” being that one other, winning Picture, Director, Actor, Score and Costume Design.

Recent history tells us that the academy like to reward their Best Picture, but not too much. Of course, there are exceptions with “Titanic” (1997) and “The Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King” (2003) both winning 11 each. However, in most years voters want to spread the wealth a little more and recognise a greater number of films. Indeed, last year, all eight Best Picture nominees won at least one Oscar.

Among this year’s eight nominees for Best Picture, three (“Bridge of Spies,” “Brooklyn” and “The Martian”) are expected to be shut out entirely. “Room” is predicted to win Best Actress for Brie Larson while “Spotlight” is favored to take Best Original Screenplay. 

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In the last 10 years, four of the Best Picture champs won four Oscars in total. That is good news for “The Revenant,” which is favored to win three other races: Director, Actor, Cinematography. There is no doubt that this epic Western could win a couple more (perhaps one or both sound awards, visual effects). After all, Oscar voters rewarded it with 12 nomination, rather than the predicted nine. Perhaps it could even pull off a major upset and win Best Supporting Actor for Tom Hardy

George Miller’s masterpiece chase-movie “Mad Max: Fury Road” looks set to be this year’s “Gravity,” winning a lot of technical awards (Costume Design, Film Editing, Makeup & Hairstyling, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing) but not the main prize.

“The Big Short” is predicted to win Best Adapted Screenplay and could pull off an upset in Film Editing. Were it to wn Best Picture as well, it would have three in total as did “Argo” and “12 Years a Slave.” Both of those also won Adapted Screenplay with “Argo” also taking Film Editing while “12 Years a Slave” won Best Supporting Actress (Lupita Nyongo).

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