Oscars 2019: Bigger Films = Bigger Ratings?

With films like “A Star is Born” and “Black Panther”, the 91st Academy Awards, held on February 24th, 2019, might witness a significant increase in viewership compared to the previous ceremony.

Since 2016, the Oscars ratings have been steadily decreasing, with last year’s show garnering only 26.5 million viewers. 32.9 million people watched the event in 2017. Many people believe the reason for the drastically small number was Academy’s tendency to favor arthouse films that much of the public has not seen.

Last year’s Best Picture winner, The Shape of Water, grossed 63.9 million dollars in the United States. The highest grossing film of the year, Beauty and the Beast, made over 504 million dollars at the domestic box office. Beauty and the Beast was nominated for Best Production Design and Best Costume Design. It was not nominated for Best Picture or any of the other five main categories—Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, or Best Adapted Screenplay.

“Most of the movies that make a lot of money—and the movies that the public seems to enjoy—are nominated in the technical categories,” says Sophia Marrone, a high school sophomore and avid movie goer, “They should deserve nominations in the main categories too. Special effects isn’t the only artistic aspect that makes a film captivating.”

However, things are looking different this year. Numerous outlets have predicted that some of the biggest films of 2018 are projected to take home an Oscar this year. Since its first ceremony in 1927, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has awarded films that seem to have some sort of historical and societal significance. Earning over $1.3 billion at the international box office, Black Panther has become the ninth highest grossing film of all time.

It’s also the first film led by an all black cast to gross $1 billion. The story follows the protagonist T’Challa, the new ruler of the fictional African nation, Wakanda, as he becomes accustomed to his new role as King. Black Panther currently holds a respectable 97% on the film critic’s website Rotten Tomatoes.

“It would be really dumb for Black Panther to not be nominated for a big Oscar. The story was gripping, the acting was excellent—it was just an awesome, original movie.” claims Marrone. Another popular film set to bring home the gold in February, is the romance A Star is Born. Starring three time Academy Award nominee Bradley Cooper and popstar Lady Gaga, A Star is Born is about an aging musician [Cooper] trying to help an aspiring singer [Gaga] break out in the music scene. Grossing almost $200 million at the international box office, A Star is Born has received acclaim for the screenplay, acting, and music.

“I can see A Star is Born being nominated for a couple of big awards,” predicts high school sophomore Maya Ganzke, “probably for Best Actress. She [Lady Gaga] was really good in the film, and I think it would be interesting for a pop singer to be nominated for an Oscar.”

All Academy Award nominees will be announced on January 22nd, 2019.

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