I thought I would use Metacritic to look at the past ten years of Best Picture winners. I use Metacritic because they are easier to pin down in terms of having fewer critics and (for the most) seasoned, experienced writers.  There are a couple of their chosen critics I would swap out for other better critics out there – like Glenn Kenny should absolutely be on Metacritc and he’s not. That’s just one example.  But I digress.

The Artist
Metacritic: 89 – nothing approaches The Artist’s score this year, except Lincoln at 87.
box office: $44 million

The King’s Speech
Metacritic: 86
box office: $138 million

Slumdog Millionaire
Metacritic: 86
box office: $141 million

The Hurt Locker
Metacritic: 94
box office: $17 million

No Country for Old Men
Metacritic: 91
box office: $74 million

The Departed
Metacritic: 86
box office: $132 million

Metacritic: 69
box office: $54 million

Lord of the Rings: Return of the King
Metacritic: 94
box office: $378 million

Metacritic: 82
box office: $170 million

While Oscar clearly prefers movies that rate in the mid-80s on Metacritic, there are no absolutes. A film with as low a review as 69% can win Best Picture and a film that made $17 million can win Best Picture. But I thought it was interesting to note.

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  • rufussondheim

    Have all the critics weighed in on Lincoln yet? Some reviews don’t get published until the film opens in that market. Or does Metacritic only use critics from LA and NY?

    And, still, with the new rules, I’m hesitant to use aggregate scores for a film. I’d much prefer to count the number of 100’s a film gets as it’s a better representation of the passion behind a film. I might even calculate that presently!

  • ^
    yep. The most important movies will have many as 41-45 reviews on Metacritic. Only 33 now, since it’s only in 11 theaters nationwide. Tomorrow we’ll see another dozen Lincoln reviews as it expands to cities that aren’t on either coast.

  • rufussondheim

    It appears that when a film is fully reviewed it gets about 43-45 reviews…

    Beasts of the Southern Wild – 21
    The Master – 15
    Argo – 13
    Cloud Atlas – 2
    Lincoln – 9 (but we still need 12 more reviews)
    Moonrise Kingdom – 8
    Dark Knight Rises – 10
    The Avengers – 3
    Looper – 5
    Skyfall -5
    Flight – 3
    Holy Motors – 10 (with only 27 reviews in)
    The Hunger Games – 1


    Amour – 2 (of 4)
    Silver Linings Playbook – 3 (of 12)
    Life of Pi – 2 (of 8)
    Anna Karenina – 0 (of 14)
    The Impossible – 3 (of 5)
    The Sessions – 3 (of 36)

    OK, I think I got all of the possibilities, but I am pretty sure I have overlooked a couple of major critical successes that are not in the Oscar discussion. Now I know Holy Motors isn’t in the mix, but the ewcastatic reviews I saw for it made me want to include it (and I’m glad I did)

  • PaulH

    This is why Rotten Tomatoes>>>>Metacritic. Even now, The Hurt Locker sticks out like a sore thumb. Maybe 20 years from now somebody in Hollywood will write a book blow-by-blowing just what happened that this boxoffice bomb just snookered everybody into thinking it was the best thing since sliced bread.

  • steve50

    The odd thing is, these reviews are posted usually after one viewing, which they are based primarily on a first impression which can change with subsequent viewings. The scores for more complex films (like The Master) will trend lower than a well-put-together crowdpleaser.

    Case in point: I enjoyed The Artist the one time I saw it last year, but the night before last, I went to give it a second go and couldn’t make it to the end. I wondered what the hell I was thinking the first time around.

    Do you know if critics can modify or change their minds on Metacritic, or are these harvested from external reviews by Metacritic, itself?

  • The odd thing is, these reviews are posted usually after one viewing, which they are based primarily on a first impression which can change with subsequent viewings.

    I think this can account for how a critic’s reviews throughout the year don’t always jibe with his or her Top 10 list. Repeat viewings help us plumb deeper depths and or see how shallow some fun movies might be beneath the surface. Even without second or third viewings, movies either fade in our memories or keep bubbling up in our thoughts.

    Like most things on the internet, firt-impression Metacritic scores are written in ink. Sometimes regrettably. Like this.

  • Eladol


    No “Million Dollar Baby” ?

    Not a favorite of yours … ?

  • rufussondheim

    Steve, I 100% agree. And that’s why I prefer the top 10 lists I went on an on about last year, and I will do it again this year.

    Middle of Nowhere – 1 (out of 19)
    The Kid With the Bike – 8 (of 33)

    And the top Documentary…

    This is Not a film – 11 (of 27)

    A lot of films got 2, 3, or 4 – but nothing that’s in the race. I think I got all of the options at this point (at least those that have opened)

  • I have to disagree. I think a film should be judged on a single viewing. That’s how movies were meant to be seen. In a theater, the one time. I’ve said before that I only can remember completely changing my opinion on one film ever, VELVET GOLDMINE. Other than that my opinion on the quality of a film never really changes at all.

    Case in point, last night I got PROMETHEUS out of the redbox to make sure it still sucked. It did. It just seemed shorter this time. 😛 What happened to all its proponents anyway? In all this Oscar talk I’ve not heard crap about it, or about poor ol’ Fassbender. What are you guys, fickle?

  • steve50

    “poor ol’ Fassbender. What are you guys, fickle?”

    Not at all. We’re just increasing the tension on the rubber band for next year, which will be big time for him, I think.

    Antoinette, it’s hard to believe that it’s possible to catch every nuance and subtext in one viewing. First viewing gives me just a first impression (yes, it was good, no, it sucked), the second confirms or disproves it by revealing what I missed, then the third viewing is always the best because I can anticipate what happening and see how we’re taken there.

    The first viewing is the initial “entertainment” with the oohs, ahhs, laughs and tears. If I learn nothing new in the second viewing, there usually isn’t a third, and it’s only after the third viewing that a certain and informed opinion is reliable. That’s when I know the laughs and surprises and tears are justified because they are still there.

    But maybe I’m just slow – it would be more economical your way, for sure.

  • red_wine

    The King’s Speech score is 88, not 86. But of course you did not see that. We all know it barely got any critical acclaim at all, don’t we?

  • Matt O’Callaghan

    Holy Motors is one of those films. I haven’t looked, but the other 1/2 that didn’t give it a 100% would be hovering well below 50%? I had a hard time with Ebert score (3 1/2 stars) – I can handle 0-1 stars, but 3 1/2 doesn’t seem to fit this film IMO.

    On the subjec of repeat viewings of a film. I think it’s necessary. Not that we all have the fucking time to watch Here Comes the Boom and Case of the Smiling Stiffs more than once. Lif is short. But some films are like paintings and do reveal more information the more I watch. I’ve seen The Draughtman’s Contract around 20 times. It’s not my favourite film in the world but I do get more out of it each time. Still tinkering with it though…

  • Jerry

    Lincoln is being screened at the White House for Pres Obama on Thursday with Speilberg and the actors present. As Biden would say “That is a BFD”! http://www.deadline.com/2012/11/lincoln-screening-at-white-house-tomorrow/

  • Matt O’Callaghan

    The King’s Speech is not a bad film. It’s actually quite good @red_wine, and under the Academy’s track record – fits like a glove.

    It is a whipping boy for films that year that were more progressive, and make no mistake, progression is important in film.

    Oscar shouldn’t have to validate a film making positive steps, they are after all a select group of individuals, but from an outsiders point of view i want them to pick the Best film so it sends a message to studios that says “We’re not dumb assholes, we can handle it…”

  • Matt O’Callaghan

    Slightly OT…I read Variety’s review of the final Twilight film and Justin Chang gives it a pretty good review. We know this will make a lot of coin, but will it get good reviews as well?

    I guess it’s quite difficult to make a bad film this year…

  • mecid

    I just know one thing: If Spielberg (whom critics like to ignore) film gets more than 80 points on Metacritic it has 95+ value.

  • suzy sue

    I always dig out the critics top 10s on Metacritic. I judge the quality of the critic by their choice of films & whether I agree with them.

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