The last 16 best-picture Oscar winners show how out of touch Hollywood’s biggest night is with general audiences

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“The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” is the only movie in the last 16 years that won the best picture Oscar and was the top box office-grossing movie of that year.
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New Line Cinema

It’s easy to say that the Oscars are out of touch with the regular moviegoer, but when you dive into the numbers, it’s scary how correct that general thought is.

We looked back at the lifetime domestic gross for the last 16 best-picture Oscar winners and matched those with the lifetime gross for the movies that topped those years at the box office. And only once did they match up (2003’s “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King”).

In fact, most of the best picture Oscar winners didn’t crack the $100 million at the box office and only two crossed the $200 million mark – and that’s counting inflation!

We were close to that changing at this year’s Oscars, as a “Black Panther” best picture win would be the first time since “Return of the King” that the domestic box-office winner took home the big prize. But “Green Book” got the win – and the streak continues.

Here we compare the best picture Oscar winners to the top box office earners of those years for the last 16 years.

Note: All figures are domestic grosses only from Box Office Mojo and are added for inflation.


2018 Best Picture – “Green Book” $69.6 million

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Universal

2018 Box Office Winner – “Black Panther” $688.7 million

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Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

2017 Best Picture – “Shape of Water” $62.9 million

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Fox Searchlight Pictures

2017 Box Office Winner – “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” $610.3 million

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Lucasfilm

2016 Best Picture – “Moonlight” $28.5 million

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A24

2016 Box Office Winner – “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” $545.7 million

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Lucasfilm

2015 Best Picture – “Spotlight” $47 million

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Open Road

2015 Box Office Winner – “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” $976.2 million

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Disney

2014 Best Picture – “Birdman” $42.3 million

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“Birdman”/ Fox Searchlight

2014 Box Office Winner – “American Sniper” $389 million

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Keith Bernstein/Warner Bros.

2013 Best Picture – “12 Years A Slave” $62.2 million

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Regency Enterprises

2013 Box Office Winner – “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” $461.5 million

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YouTube screencap

2012 Best Picture – “Argo” $153 million

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Warner Bros.

2012 Box Office Winner – “The Avengers” $694.2 million

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Marvel

2011 Best Picture – “The Artist” $50.9 million

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The Weinstein Company

2011 Box Office Winner – “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2” $433.3 million

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Warner Bros/Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

2010 Best Picture – “The King’s Speech” $155.2 million

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The Weinstein Company

2010 Box Office Winner – “Toy Story 3” $481.6 million

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Pixar

2009 Best Picture – “The Hurt Locker” $20.2 million

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VISO Trailers / YouTube

2009 Box Office Winner – “Avatar” $866.1 million

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20th Century Fox

2008 Best Picture – “Slumdog Millionaire” $171.7 million

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Fox Searchlight

2008 Box Office Winner – “The Dark Knight” $670.6 million

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Warner Bros.

2007 Best Picture – “No Country For Old Men” $95.5 million

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Paramount Pictures

2007 Box Office Winner – “Spider-Man 3” $441.6 million

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Sony

2006 Best Picture – “The Departed” $181.6 million

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Warner Bros.

2006 Box Office Winner – “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest” $583.5 million

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Disney

2005 Best Picture – “Crash” $76.8 million

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Bob Yari Productions

2005 Box Office Winner – “Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith” $535.7 million

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Lucasfilm

2004 Best Picture – “Million Dollar Baby” $141.6 million

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Warner Bros.

2004 Box Office Winner – “Shrek 2” $641.5 million

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DreamWorks

2003 Best Picture – “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” $555.6 million

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New Line

2003 Box Office Winner – “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” $555.6 million

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New Line Cinema