How to Win a Best Picture Oscar


Oscar mouth

It is a ultimate honor for a movie to be crowned Best Picture at the Academy Awards. Last night, though very weird, was no exception. To any of you aspiring filmmakers, I have cracked the code. After some research on the twelve most recent Best Picture Academy Award winners, I found a few of things they have in common:

  1. F-Words. Make sure you drop a LOT of F-bombs. Average use per movie? 46.25.
  2. Get an R-rating. Even though R-rated films make WAY less money on average than PG-13, remember that only ONE of the past 12 Best Picture Awards went to a non-R-rated film.
  3. Don’t be very popular with the masses. Average box office of the last twelve winners was $73 million. The past three years averaged out at a paltry $30 million. (Basically, you need to make a movie that not many people really want to see.)

Title/Year/F-Bombs/Gross in Millions

  • Moonlight (2016) 25 $22
  • Spotlight (2015) 7 $25
  • Birdman (2014) 98 $42
  • 12 Years a Slave (2013) 0  $56
  • Argo (2012) 25 $136
  • The Artist (2011) 0 $44
  • The King’s Speech (2010) 12 $135
  • The Hurt Locker (2009) 75 $17
  • Slumdog Millionaire (2008) 3 $141
  • No Country for Old Men (2007) 2 $74
  • The Departed (2006) 226 $132
  • Crash (2005) 82 $54

(Special props to The Artist for being the ONLY non-R-rated movie on this list.)

The numbers:

  • 555 total F-bombs
  • 46.25. Average F-bombs per film.
  • $73 million gross average per film.

So when they brought those regular tourists into the theater last night and the celebrities looked at them like they were fascinating, unknown creatures, it is because to Hollywood – they are.




  1. So right. I don’t care about the Oscars at all. Don’t have to boycott them – just don’t even bother to watch them. Not a priority in my world.

  2. I haven’t watched the Oscars in at least 5 years. Sick of Hollywood. I was bummed that the ratings only went down 16%. I was hoping for more. Still it is a start.

  3. Wow. I never realized this. So sad. People nowadays love R-rated movies. Every time I tell someone I hate R-rated movies, they say R-rated movies are their favorites…

    This is part of the reason why I’m in love with La La Land. It could have been PG if it weren’t for the extremely unnecessary cuss words. (I seriously hate it when movies use cuss words just because they can. For example, the f-bomb in Titanic.) It’s always seriously refreshing to see a romance or semi-romance movie without a sex scene, too.

  4. Not only did I not see any on the list, I hadn’t even heard of some of them. When I was a kid I used to dress up and pretend to be attending the Oscars. They were a big deal and I knew all the stars. I never even think about watching them now. Especially on the Sabbath. I really wanted to see “The King’s Speech” but they just had to put, what was it, three bad words in there, so I lost interest. (And they fought for the idea of having those words in there and NOT changing it, as far as I know. So sad..)

  5. I was really hoping that some of the good movies I’ve seen this year would make it to the top, but alas, the system you noted stood. Very disappointing, but not surprising.

  6. I would like to point out that one of those on the list, The King’s Speech, did have the F-Bombs in it but they were actually central to the story. It is widely known that King George V had a stuttering problem and that when he got frustrated it became worse. That included the F-word, which he had used liberally when in the navy. I thought the director’s use was careful and did not offend, as the King himself did not want to offend. He wanted help with his speech difficulties and he got it. I agree, though, that most use of foul language and nudity/sexual situations in films these days is gratuitous and has nothing to do with the story. I can probably count on 1 hand the times that nudity has been actually a central part of the story to make you feel the angst or discomfort of the character. This is so rare, and yet Hollywood can’t seem to get enough of it (gratuitous nudity), even down to showing up on awards shows now, where celebs come out in almost nothing and are praised for their “bravery” or “beauty” – Beyonce’, I’m talking about you. Get over yourselves. You are NOT gods. Give me Adele fully covered any day.

    • Yet, in an effort to make The King’s Speech more accessible, they did release an edited version back out to the theaters, reducing the F-words from 12 to 2. And you know what? It was STILL a powerful movie, the plot was STILL well served. I loved it.

  7. I thought your F-bomb average was quite the exaggeration. How disappointed I am to find out it’s not! How thrilled I am to know that I haven’t heard that many f-bombs in my entire lifetime! As always, a delightful read.

  8. I too have not seen any of those “Best” pictures and have not bother to watch the self congrats show. I heard they announced the wrong show HaHa.

  9. I did online searches for plot summaries for alot of the nominated films. I would NOT go to most (all) of these movies when I imagine sitting in the theatre with my 8/9 yr. old primary class, Pres. Monson OR my mother.

  10. You’re such a populist, MMM. Just because a movie sells lots of tickets doesn’t mean it’s any good — popular trash is still trash. Maybe, just maybe, good films have more challenging story lines than the kinds of movies that bring in hordes of 14-year-olds.

    • True. Yet “challenging” does not need to mean spiritually numbing. My favorite movie this year was Lion, hardly an “easy” commercial film. I am sick to death of super hero movies and wholeheartedly agree that popularity and quality are two different things.

      (So good to hear from you again!)

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