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Do movies released in December win Best Picture?

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  • Marcus Dixon
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    #197871

    We’re curious, in recent years how many Best Picture champs were released in December? It would seem to be the ideal month to release a film as it’s right at the end of eligibility, but that may not be the case in the past decade or so.

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    manakamana
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    #197873

    These days the voting just starts too early for December releases to build that kind of momentum. Perhaps if the Oscars were more independent from all the precursors that start announcing in the beginning of December before real people get to see any of those movies it’d be different — and I think they try as much as they can to do that — but these days the buzz just gets so deafening. 

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    benutty
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    #197874

    The answer is ‘not anymore‘ and ‘very rarely‘ due in large part because of the evolving importance of precursor awards in determining Best Picture. 

    Four times in the last 15 years. Not once in the last 10 years.

    Birdman – October
    12 Years a Slave – October
    Argo – October
    The Artist – November
    The King’s Speech – November
    The Hurt Locker – June
    Slumdog Millionaire – November
    No Country for Old Men – November 
    The Departed – October
    Crash – May
    Million Dollar Baby – December
    Return of the King – December
    Chicago – December 
    A Beautiful Mind – December
    Gladiator – May 

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    benutty
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    #197875

    So basically, whatever is winning Best Picture has opened already or will open in the next two weeks.

    (Hint: Carol

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    ETPhoneHome
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    #197876

    In many cases, the best release strategy is a late November release to be seen enough to be nominated at the earlier precursors, but the ones released in December, especially late a December have a much better shot at bei nominated. The momentum just doesn’t typically build enough to allow it to win in the end.

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    24Emmy
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    #197877

    So basically, whatever is winning Best Picture has opened already or will open in the next two weeks.

    (Hint: Carol

    Why would the Academy vote for Carol to win Best Picture?

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    KyleBailey
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    #197878

    Yeah it seems that surprise last minute movies like Sniper or Selma really hurt themselves with the December releases. Birdman and company had buzz for a good amount of time and kept building it. Things like Selma get that one moment of time in the air before nominations with many voters having not seen it in time. I think this hurt A Most Violent Year as well. Had that movie been released in late November/early December, I think Chastain would have gotten in and more people would have given it the time of day. But I don’t think I personally have seen the Best Picture winner yet. I haven’t seen Spotlight, Danish Girl, Carol, Joy, Hateful Eight, Youth, or The Revenant so I can’t say if that streak will continue but if Spotlight does win then it would seem October/November is the best time to release your movie. It’s the right amount of time for people to play catch up if they need to but also not have it escape their minds  

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    PJ Edwards
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    #197879

    If it doesn’t happen in weak year like this and with the big names lurking then it’ll probably won’t ever happen for foreseeable future.

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    All-Seeing Eye
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    #197880

    12YAS was an October release just to clarify.

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    ColinWesley
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    #197881

    Since they moved the awards to late Feb. it’s become quite difficult for any film from december to win. The precursors have usually already latched onto one film with a lot of buzz.

    If the oscars were held in late march it might be more frequent, it would give the voters one extra month to mull things over. It’s not impossible now, obviously, but by the time voting starts the voters have been courted and charmed by already released films at events and screenings and one film usually has a narrative behind it that the december releases lack. Maybe this year will break the mould, who knows!

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    benutty
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    #197882

    12YAS was an October release just to clarify.

    good catch! updated~~ 

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    Riley
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    #1202026199

    Bumping because that is two years now where it has really looked like a December release could (The Revenant) or would win (La La Land), but the curse held strong!  This is one of those SAG ensemble things where it seems like it should be surmountable, but it has not been.

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    Paul Hardister
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    #1202026507

    I looks like fall is the best time. Before that is too early. Manchester and Birth of a Nation were huge Sundance hits only to fall by the wayside. Too much time to pick them apart.

    Fall festivals are key especially Telluride. Why? Because critics go. Those critics turn around become the tastemakers for Award Season. Gothams & Indie Spirits and Critics Choice nominations come out November/early December. Those nominations allow Academy voters to prioritize their screeners and so on.

    I don’t think it is wise anymore to release a movie in December, if you want to win. Oscars used to be as late as April. Now, with deadlines in early/mid Jan. Distributors don’t have enough time to mount a campaign.

    We all know the Academy doesn’t watch all the movies sadly. Mainly because they often run out of time to catch all the late releases.

    Sure late releases can still get nominations but not enough love for wins. It hurt Hidden Figures, Hateful 8, Lion and so on.

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    John
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    #1202026687

    Posting above showing past 15 years shows October/November being prime time and December being late to the party. Currently, it’s also about a studio with deep enough pockets having enough time to mount an Academy Award campaign which goes beyond simply creating publicity buzz about a film. I wish the Academy would do more to squelch the award campaigns as it allows those with the deepest pockets to tilt the playing field trying to “buy” the awards.

    John

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    Evergreen
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    #1202027228

    I think they can. If ‘Moonlight’ was released in December it still would have won Best Picture.

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