Part of the reason that the Academy Awards expanded the Best Picture category to up to 10 nominees was in hopes of attracting more interest by bringing in more popular films. It hasn't worked. A new poll of the movie going public has uncovered the fact that a full 60 percent of them can not name a single movie that's been nominated for Best Picture this year. Of course, part of the reason for this is likely that most of those surveyed haven't seen most of the movies either.
The survey was conducted by National Research Group earlier this month on behalf of The Hollywood Reporter. It covers a variety of topics related the Oscars and film. What's possibly even more surprising than the fact that 6 out of 10 people on the street don't know who the nominees are, is the fact that even when prompted by the film's title, most could not recognize that a film had received the nomination. It's one thing to ask a random person on the street what the best Picture nominees are. It's another to ask somebody if they know if La La Land was nominated for Best Picture.
For what it's worth, La La Land was the movie that most people were able to name as being a nominee. A whopping 32% could name it. From there it drops significantly as only 19% could name Fences as one of the choices Academy voters have. Hell or High Water faired the worst among nominees as only 5% could name it. That doesn't mean that many people had actually seen these movies. Less than 30% of people asked had seen Arrival while only 25% had seen Manchester by the Sea.
The good news for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and ABC, is that the fact that nobody knows who the nominees are apparently won't impact their viewing of the ceremony, as 70% of those surveyed still plan to watch the show, which should make for solid ratings if that number holds up across the country.
On a related note, while most people weren't aware that Jimmy Kimmel would be hosting the telecast, once they were given this information, the majority seemed positive on the choice. Only 12% said that Kimmel hosting made them less likely to watch the show, while over half said that it made them more likely to watch. For the rest, the host made no impact.
As somebody who writes about movies every day, I'm certainly more than a little surprised by these numbers. While I understand that not everybody goes to see movies every week, I still would have expected some number greater that half could at least name one Best Picture nominee. Films like La La Land and Hidden Figures have been punching above their weight at the box office since their release at the end of last year. This would seem to indicate that people care about these movies and so it wouldn't have been surprising to see that reflected here.
How many Best Picture nominees could you name before you began to read this story? I haven't even mentioned four of them in this article. Do you know what they are? Let us know in the comments.