Made it through The Artist today, meaning that I can finally rank all of the Best Picture nominees this year a couple hours before the announcement. This isn’t a prediction of how things will go – The Artist is trending at 91.1% on InTrade.
- The Descendants
- The Tree of Life
- The Artist
- Midnight in Paris
- The Help
- War Horse
- Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
Movies that I enjoyed more than at least half of these include Beginners, 50/50, and Rango. I’m still looking forward to watching A Dangerous Method, Melancholia, and A Separation.
Just bragging a bit, but here’s some of the crap I’ve sold on eBay recently:
- My broken Zune MP3 player (sold for parts), which stopped working months ago: $50.
- My crappy point-and-shoot Kodak Z712 camera, which I bought for $105 refurbished off eBay four years ago: $58.
- My idle three-year old HTC myTouch 3G: $82.
I certainly didn’t make a profit on anything here, but without the magic of eBay exposure they would have been left decaying in my closet until they were worthless. Also magical is the fact that all of these have been functionally replaced by my smartphone.
If you’ve taken a look at the Academy Award Best Picture Nominees for 2011, you might have noticed that none of them were smash hits at the box office. In fact, according to the worldwide gross data available at www.boxofficemojo.com, we find that this year’s highest ranking nominee, The Help, managed only 32nd place in 2011. This is a historic low:
Best Picture Nominee Worldwide Box Office Grosses, 1989-2011
Yearly rank of Worldwide Gross among all movies each year taken from wwww.boxofficemojo.com. For fun, I've emboldened movies that I've already seen.
|Year||Top Ranking Best Picture Nominee||Rank||Best Picture Winner||Rank
|2010||Toy Story 3||1||The King's Speech||13
|2009||Avatar||1||The Hurt Locker||93
|2008||Slumdog Millionare||14||Slumdog Millionare||14
|2007||Juno||22||No Country for Old Men||31
|2006||The Departed||14||The Departed||14
|2004||Million Dollar Baby||21||Million Dollar Baby||21
|2003||LotR: Return of the King||1||LotR: Return of the King||1
|2002||LotR: Two Towers||1||Chicago||12
|2001||LotR: The Fellowship of the Ring||2||A Beautiful Mind||12
|1999||The Sixth Sense||2||American Beauty||9
|1998||Saving Private Ryan||2||Shakespeare in Love||9
|1996||Jerry Maguire||9||The English Patient||11
|1994||Forrest Gump||2||Forrest Gump||2
|1993||The Fugitive||3||Schindler's List||4
|1992||A Few Good Men||7||Unforgiven||13
|1991||Beauty and the Beast||3||The Silence of the Lambs||5
|1990||Ghost||1||Dances With Wolves||4
|1989||Dead Poets Society||5||Driving Miss Daisy||13
That’s as far back as the data goes on the website, but my guess would be that this year’s class of nominees holds this record over the 84-year history of the Academy Awards. The ostensible trend is that the tastes of the Academy are diverging from those of the global consumer base, but this is really only a cursory glance into this notion. I just found it kind of fun to think about.
It also looks like this year’s winner will beat out 2008′s The Hurt Locker as the least profitable Best Picture by rank: The Artist, which currently stands an 84% chance of winning this year’s Best Picture according to Intrade, is ranked 104th in worldwide gross so far this year.
A couple caveats:
- There are still a few films in this year’s class which are still in theaters in some locations. Therefore, it’s possible that The Help will move up another spot or two.
- Using Worldwide box office statistics probably inflates action films and deflates the arthouse-type films which have been nominated in recent years.
And a few final thoughts:
- Has there been a study done on demonstrable effects of piracy on different strata of films? [EDIT: The answer to this, of course, is yes.] In an attempt to analyze consumer psychology, I would guess that the ability to pirate makes a consumer much less likely to purchase or rent a DVD of a marginal film that she isn’t sure she’ll like. I wonder if the increased knowledge of and availability of torrent trackers could be linked to an increasing divergence in the financial success of more predictable films (sequels, remakes, Superhero films) and more risky ones (arthouse, original screenplays, etc.).
- Among this year’s nominees I’ve seen only The Descendants, Moneyball, and The Help, and I wasn’t really impressed with any. I don’t profess to have refined tastes for film, but my favorite movies of the year have been 50/50, The Guard, and Rango. Last year I was pretty obsessed with Winter’s Bone and True Grit.
eBay is a marketplace I don’t frequent often enough to understand fully, but I’ve found it a fantastic place to peddle my junk. A recent sale of mine provides an example of the uninformed buyers that frequent it.
My listing of a brand new top-of-the-line SD card went for $33.00 on eBay, when the same item is very clearly available from a number of actual vendors for less than $30 shipped. I can’t think of any reason why an individual would prefer my sketchy listing to that of a reputable company aside from their ignorance of the various price-comparison websites.