The Oscars as a meaningful institution is a fickle mistress — how can a few dozen folks in the Hollywood bubble reliably award the best entertainment of the year? Even diehard cinephiles often lament the Academy’s decisions (remember when Shakespeare in Love beat Saving Private Ryan for Best Picture?).
So why not put the responsibility of handing out entertainment awards into the hands of the people who actually bought the products? That’s not necessarily wise either, as proven this week when entertainment website Fandom released its “Oscars According to the Fans” survey.
According to poll results, the new Avatar would earn Best Picture just slightly ahead of Top Gun: Maverick. Now, is Top Gun worthy of winning Best Picture on its own? Before you say ‘no,’ it did shatter box office records and basically reinvigorated the languishing movie theater industry post-COVID. To many fans, it probably was the best picture of the year — certainly better than Avatar.
Interestingly enough, Avatar carried 15 different states in the poll, including a few surprises (at least to us) like Alabama, Oklahoma, and Washington. Tom Cruise’s equally long-awaited sequel took second place as the top film in 13 states, including California, Oregon, Nevada, Montana, Wyoming, North Carolina and Maine among others.
And in case you’re wondering, Elvis came in third (and the film’s titular star, Austin Butler, would win Best Actor). But go look at any serious Oscar predictions and you’ll mostly find split decisions between Everything Everywhere All at Once and The Banshees of Inisherin.
So what’s to make of the disconnect between “serious” or “deeper” films and popular ones in terms of prestige? Let us know on Twitter what you think.
The Academy usually awards Oscars to films with positive critical momentum heading into the event
If, however, a major box office smash like Top Gun: Maverick were to win Best Picture, it would likely need to win some awards leading up to the event. After all, the road to Oscars immortality is as much a PR campaign as it is a popularity contest. Voters like to feel as if they are making a decision that will survive the test of the time.
If you’re pulling for Top Gun: Maverick to break the mold and win the big one, then its recent editing award is a good sign. The action film just earned top honors for Drama at the 73rd American Cinema Editors Eddie Awards. However, Everything Everywhere All At Once took home the award for Best Edited Comedic Feature, so both films have some momentum going into the Academy Awards.
Initially scheduled for July 12th, 2019 release, producers delayed Top Gun’s release due to worldwide shutdowns. However, Tom Cruise and Paramount refused streaming services’ attempts to acquire its rights, insisting that it release in cinemas first. Their bold decision payed off: when the action-packed blockbuster was finally unveiled on May 2022, it soared to $1.489 billion in revenue across the world.
But is it good enough for Oscars immortality? Only time will tell.