The Academy Awards gave its Best Picture award to Green Book on Sunday night and, as per usual, a lot of people have a lot of different opinions about that. However, if the criticism of the decision seems a bit harsher than usual, that's not actually all that surprising, as Green Book is the worst Best Picture winner since 2004's Crash according to film critics.
Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes lists Green Book with a cumulative score of 79%, which may not seem all that low, but no winner of Best Picture at the Oscars has had a score so low since the 74% score that Crash received.
Now, of course, critics are only one subset of the movie going public and critics and the general public don't always agree. Green Book has a 93% audience score on the same site and Crash has an 88% score, showing that a lot of people feel very differently about these movies compared to critics.
Still, the lukewarm critic reaction, as mentioned by The Insider, is certainly telling. Most of the time the Best Picture winner is a movie that critics like a lot more. In fact, the numbers tend to go more in the opposite direction. The previous two Best Picture winners, The Shape of Water and Moonlight saw a Rotten Tomatoes critic score up in the 90s, while the audience score was down in the 70s.
In fact, Green Book has the highest audience rating of any of the Best Picture nominees. While it was only the fourth highest grossing film of the eight films nominated, so fewer people saw the movie than saw Black Panther, Bohemian Rhapsody or A Star is Born, but more people who saw it liked it.
It makes one wonder if part of Green Book's success was part of the Academy's very public attempts to make the awards feel more accessible to the viewing audience. Generally, the movies that win at the Oscars are the movies that audiences don't care so much about. Perhaps Green Book was the compromise choice, as it was popular with many moviegoers, while still being an "awards movie."
I mean, it could have been worse. Green Book wasn't even the lowest rated Best Picture nominee according to critics. Vice has a 66% Rotten Tomatoes score and Bohemian Rhapsody is at 61%. The Queen biopic did much better wit audiences, though critics and audiences are more or less in agreement on their mediocre opinion on Vice.
We'll have to wait and see whether Green Book's win signals a shift in Oscar voting or is more of an anomaly. Crash certainly wasn't a referendum on the Oscars as things went back to more or less the status quo the following year. We'll be back here in 12 months to figure that out.
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