Under the preferential ballot voting system now in place at the Oscars, a nominee doesn’t need the most #1 votes to win Best Picture anymore. It doesn’t need the most nominations either. “CODA” and “Green Book” are great examples of this. These two films had just eight bids between them, but reigned victorious in six of them. “CODA” had no editing nomination. “Green Book” had no directing nomination. They both were up against a frontrunner with the most nominations (“The Power of The Dog”, “Roma”). How did they overcome these towering trends and win the top prize at the Academy Awards? Two factors play into this phenomena.
“Green Book” and “CODA” both had a 90+% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes, an A or higher Cinemascore, and an 8+ rating on IMDb. These are three different measures of audience enjoyment. How this helped with the preferential ballot was that the broad likability led to an abundance of #2 and #3 votes in Best Picture.
“Top Gun: Maverick” currently sits just outside the top 100 films on IMDb, with an 8.3/10 average rating from over half a million users. The film also boasts a an A+ Cinemascore, along with a 99% audience rating and 4.9/5 average score on Rotten Tomatoes from over 50,000 verified users.
This long-awaited sequel reignited moviegoers. Before “Top Gun: Maverick,” the global pandemic had all but killed the cinematic experience. People were only willing to leave their homes to see superhero movies on the big screen. “Maverick” changed that. An old fashioned blockbuster that had audiences hooting, hollering, and coming back again and again and again. At $718 million, the Paramount picture now ranks among the top 5 domestic grossing movies of all time. As Steven Spielberg observed: “‘Maverick’ might have saved the entire theatrical industry.”
“Top Gun: Maverick” takes industry support to the next level. It has reaped nominations from an even dozen of the industry guilds; it missed out only with the hairstylists and makeup artists. There is a significant overlap in membership between the guilds and the academy. Because of this, key guild wins have propelled underdogs to Best Picture wins.
In particular, the PGA awards foreshadowed those upsets by “CODA” and “Green Book.” It also signalled surges for other films like “Birdman”, “The Shape of Water” and “The King’s Speech.” The PGA is the only voting body other than AMPAS to use the preferential ballot voting system. In the 33-year history of the PGA Awards, a whopping 23 of its winners have repeated at the Oscars including last year’s double dipper “CODA.”
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