Which is the better movie, the one awarded an Oscar for Best Picture or the Most Popular, defined as the one with that year's highest box office gross? The former is, ostensibly, chosen by experts, the latter picked by you.
We cannot answer that question, but we can discover some of the differences between Best and Most Popular pictures.
- The Most Popular picture routinely made about twice what the Best Picture took in, and there is good evidence this trend is increasing.
- Many pictures had only men in the lead and no women.
- Women over 40 are rare, and over 50 virtually non-existent, while older men show up increasingly frequently.
- Best Pictures usually had older actors and actresses than the Most Popular movies.
- There were fewer comedies for Oscars, more Action & Adventure for Most Popular flicks.
The Oscars for Best Picture were awarded from 1927/1928 until 2009; 83 years so far. In 1928, there was no Best Picture award, but one called Most Outstanding Production, which was given to a film that ran over 1927 and 1928 (Wings). We included this in the Best Picture category for 1927.
Sixteen of the 83 years, or 19%, found the Best Picture also being the Most Popular. These were movies like The Broadway Melody, It Happened One Night, Gone with the Wind, The Sound of Music, and The Godfather.