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When Oscar Met Boffo: Comparing Nominees’ Box Office Takes

by  in Comic News, Movie News Comment

Oscar winners can be hard to predict, depending on the whims of the Academy and political maneuvering as much as anything else. But what happens when you introduce box office take into the running? Here are what would take home the trophies if it were purely based on money.

Motion Picture of the Year
Toy Story 3- $415,004,880
Inception- $292,576,195
True Grit- $164,980,809
The King’s Speech- $106,182,719
Black Swan- $102,248,574
The Social Network- $96,798,310
The Fighter- $88,626,150
The Kids Are All Right- $20,811,365
127 Hours- $17,614,081
Winter’s Bone- $6,425,778

To no one’s surprise, Disney/Pixar’s Toy Story takes home the Best Picture Oscar in terms of box office. Looking at the rest of the nominees, there’s not really anything else that stood a chance of coming close, really. How can even Christopher Nolan compete with a long-awaited reunion of massively iconic animated characters in a bittersweet movie about the passing of time?

Performance By An Actor In A Leading Role
True Grit-Jeff Bridges- $164,980,809
The King’s Speech-Colin Firth- $106,182,719
The Social Network-Jesse Eisenberg- $96,798,310
127 Hours-James Franco- $17,614,081
Biutiful-Javier Bardem- $3,133,104

If dollars were votes, Bridges would walk away with the Best Actor trophy for the second year in a row, thanks to the success of True Grit. If only Colin Firth’s movie had featured some cowboys…

Performance By An Actor In A Supporting Role
The King’s Speech-Geoffrey Rush- $106,182,719
The Town-Jeremy Renner- $92,186,262
The Fighter-Christian Bale- $88,626,150
The Kids Are All Right-Mark Ruffalo- $20,811,365
Winter’s Bone-John Hawkes- $6,425,778

…That said, The King’s Speech was successful enough that it would mean that Geoffrey Rush took home the award in this category. Given the talk around town, it’s possible that this is one of the few cases where box office and Academy voting will come up with the same result.

Performance By An Actress In A Leading Role
Black Swan-Natalie Portman- $102,248,574
The Kids Are All Right-Annette Bening- $20,811,365
Blue Valentine-Michelle Williams- $8,975,286
Winter’s Bone-Jennifer Lawrence- $6,425,778
Rabbit Hole-Nicole Kidman- $2,010,073

Look at the massive distance between Black Swan and every other movie in this category. Does this mean that actresses only get meaty leading roles in little-seen movies, or just that the “Natalie Portman in a lesbian scene in that ballet monster movie” thing really helped sales? Depressingly, probably both.

Performance By An Actress In A Supporting Role
True Grit-Hailee Steinfeld- $164,980,809
The King’s Speech-Helena Bonham Carter- $106,182,719
The Fighter-Amy Adams- $88,626,150
The Fighter-Melissa Leo- $88,626,150
Animal Kingdom-Jacki Weaver- $1,041,212

Again, look at the difference in box office between these movies – with the exception of Animal Kingdom – and the Best Actress category. Clearly, audiences seem to prefer movies where the leads are male.

Achievement in Directing
True Grit-Joel Coen & Ethan Coen- $164,980,809
The King’s Speech-Tom Hooper- $106,182,719
Black Swan-Darren Aronofsky- $102,248,574
The Social Network-David Fincher- $96,798,310
The Fighter-David O. Russell- $88,626,150

The Coens’ Western remake comes out top in terms of box office for this category, but I don’t think they’re really going to lead the voting from the Academy. I’m hoping for an upset from David Fincher, but even though The Social Network was easily one of the best movies of last year, audiences don’t seem to have been that interested.

Adapted Screenplay
Toy Story 3-Michael Arndt, John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton, Lee Unkrich- $415,004,880
True Grit-Joel Coen, Ethan Coen- $164,980,809
The Social Network-Aaron Sorkin- $96,798,310
127 Hours-Danny Boyle, Simon Beaufoy- $17,614,081
Winter’s Bone-Debra Granik, Anne Rosellini- $6,425,778

Yeah, Toy Story 3 destroys the opposition here again, making three times as much money as its closest competitor. If you’re wondering why it’s in the “adapted” section, by the way, it’s because sequels count as adaptations of the original movie for the Academy, at least until they come up with a new “Bastardizations Of Your Memories Of The Original” category.

Original Screenplay
Inception-Christopher Nolan- $292,576,195
The King’s Speech-David Seidler- $106,182,719
The Fighter-Scott Silver, Paul Tamasy, Eric Johnson, Keith Dorrington- $88,626,150
The Kids Are All Right-Lisa Cholodenko, Stuart Blumberg- $20,811,365
Another Year-Mike Leigh- $2,536,222

Finally, a win for Inception – even though he’s unlikely to win the real thing. Still, at least he can himself to sleep at night on top of his bed made of all the money he’s made from Inception and the Batman movies. You need to take comfort where you can get it, it has to be said…