When Moonlight won the Oscar this year, I noted that it had also been the best reviewed film of the year (according to Rotten Tomatoes). So I started wondering how often that happened.
Here’s a list of the best reviewed films of each recent year compared to the film that actually won the Oscar. Most of the time, the Oscar winner is near the top, but sometimes, it’s clearly not the “best” film of the year.
Note that Rotten Tomatoes uses some magical mathematical formula based on how many reviews a film gets and who those reviews are from and so on so that even if both films get the same percentage of good reviews, one may come out ahead of the other.
Rotten Tomatoes started in mid-1998, so I only went back to 1999 on the chart.
2005 is an interesting year — the best film was a documentary, and the winning film Crash was not very well liked. In fact, it didn’t even make the Rotten Tomatoes top 100 for the year.
The film that came in second that year was Wallace and Grommit: The Curse of the Wererabbit, but as we can see from other Rotten Tomatoes winners, the Oscar never goes to an animated film no matter how well made it is. I mean, seriously, look at this list: Over the past 18 years, animated films have topped the charts 8 times.
|Year||Best Reviewed Film (Tomato score)||Best Picture (Tomato score + rank)|
|2016||Moonlight (97%)||Moonlight (97%) #1|
|2015||Mad Max: Fury Road (97%)||Spotlight (96%) #3|
|2014||Boyhood (98%)||Birdman (91%) #15|
|2013||Gravity (96%)||12 Years a Slave (96%) #2|
|2012||Argo (96%)||Argo (96%) #2|
|2011||Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows 2 (96%)||The Artist (96%) #2|
|2010||Toy Story 3 (99%)||The King’s Speech (95%) #5|
|2009||Up (98%)||The Hurt Locker (98%) #2|
|2008||The Wrestler (98%)||Slumdog Millionaire (92%) #8|
|2007||Ratatouille (98%)||No Country for Old Men (93%) #3|
|2006||Casino Royale (95%)||The Departed (91%) #6|
|2005||Murderball (98%)||Crash (75%) > #100|
|2004||The Incredibles (97%)||Million Dollar Baby (91%) #15|
|2003||Finding Nemo (99%)||The Return of the King (95%) #2|
|2002||The Two Towers (96%)||Chicago (86%) #27|
|2001||Monsters Inc. (96%)||A Beautiful Mind (75%) #71|
|2000||Chicken Run (97%)||Gladiator (76%) #47|
|1999||Toy Story 2 (100%)||American Beauty (88%) #11|