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February 11, 2009

Oscar best pics by the digits


So, about that financial windfall that comes after an Oscar nomination...

It's not necessarily true and, for most of this year's crop of best picture contenders, it appears to be a cruel joke. Slashfilm crunched some numbers and came up with these projected cumulative grosses (U.S. boxoffice):

"The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" -- $127 million 

"Slumdog Millionaire" -- $95 million

"Milk" -- $29 million

"The Reader" -- $23 million

"Frost/Nixon" -- $19 million

Frost_nixon_ver2 That means all these flicks could fit into the hip pocket of "The Dark Knight," the year's biggest money maker and The Biggest Snubee in this category. It also means that "Milk," "The Reader" and "Frost/Nixon" have the distinction of being among the lowest-grossing best picture candidates of the last decade.

In fairness, most of these films ("Button" excepted) launched in limited release and didn't start expanding in earnest until a few weeks ago. Granted, that was after the Oscar nods were announced on Jan. 22, when the awareness should've been at a peak.

Check out these figures, also from Slashfilm:


1. 2006 -- "Letters From Iwo Jima" -- $13.75 million

2. 2009 -- "Frost/Nixon" -- $20 million cume (projected)

3. 2009 -- "The Reader" -- $25 million cume (projected)

4. 2005 -- "Capote" -- $28.75 million

5. 1999 -- "The Insider" -- $29 million

6. 2009 -- "Milk" -- $30 million cume (projected)

7. 2005 -- "Good Night and Good Luck" -- $31.5 million

8. 2002 -- "The Pianist" -- $32.5 million 

9. 2006 -- "Babel" -- $34.3 million

10. 2008 -- "There Will Be Blood" -- $40.2 million

But it's not about the money, it's the prestige, right? Riiiight.


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Oscar Contenders

  • So "The Dark Knight" didn't make it into the final five after all, never mind that critical and popular support. Let's just call the comic-inspired mega-hit "The Biggest Snubee."

    Here are the best picture contenders in a race that, two weeks away from the Oscars, seems to be a foregone conclusion ("Slumdog") unless there's a come-from-behind possibility ("The Reader" anyone?)

    "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," with Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett; the politically timely "Milk;" rags-to-riches fairy tale, "Slumdog Millionaire," Holocaust best-seller-based drama "The Reader," and Watergate-era biopic "Frost/Nixon."

    Could "Button" and "Slumdog" split the vote, allowing another film to take the prize? Doesn't seem likely. After having clung to "Button" for months as what we thought would be the Academy voters' top vhoice, our money's now on "Slumdog." Momentum can't be ignored.

    Watch this blog for updates, ephemera and all manner of postulating.

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  • Mmmmm, chocolate Oscar. Not every star will walk away from the 81st annual Academy Awards with a trophy, but if they hit the high-profile Governor's Ball they can have pastry chef Sherry Yard's gold-dusted candy version. Also on the menu from celeb chef Wolfgang Puck is tuna tartare in sesame miso cones, chopped Chino Farms vegetable salad with ginger soy vinaigrette, Maine lobster and caviar. Serve it up! (Getty Images)

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