The Best Picture category is the undisputed climax of every Academy Award
show, but Sunday’s Best Picture category holds some especially interesting storylines. First and foremost, it’s the first time a Netflix film (Roma) has been nominated for the highest honor the film industry has to offer, which ruffled some feathers in the run-up to this year’s show. Having released Roma in very limited fashion just to be eligible for the Academy Awards, Netflix bent the rules a little too far in the eyes of some, while others argue that the distribution of a film doesn’t matter as much as its quality and artistic ambition.
Critics certainly did love Roma, which is why the black and white drama staged in the 1970s Mexico City is considered more than a dark horse going into Sunday. The selection of Best Picture nominees this year includes pretty much everything modern cinema has to offer: a superhero blockbuster (albeit with a political twist), a crowd-pleasing biopic, a Hollywood remake and the aforementioned foreign-language arthouse film.
As the following chart shows, the diversity of this year’s Best Picture contenders is also evident in its global box office results. While Black Panther was one of the commercially most successful movies of 2018, Roma was everything but. Last year’s big winner “The Shape of Water” had accumulated global box office earnings of $126 million at the time of its Oscar triumph, which is the level of commercial success that Oscar-winning movies typically enjoy