AVATAR can't buy an Oscar?

Out of the Top Ten All Time Worldwide Box Office grosses (excluding current topper Avatar), only two have been recognised by the Academy Awards as the best motion picture of their respective release year. Titanic in 1997 (2nd) and the last of the Lord of the Rings Trilogy - The Return of the King in 2004 (3rd) - two rare moments when the Academy voters and the mass general audience saw eye-to-eye. It's telling that both Titanic and ROTK were 1 & 2 on the All Time List before 2010 - a sense that the Academy HAD no choice but too vote for those movies as it's rare to see a film take off and become so popular, and there was added pressure on the voters to acknowledge that fact. The next Best Picture movie on the worldwide grossing list is all the way down at 38 with Forrest Gump in 1994, proof that the Academy doesn't award major box office success that often UNLESS it is a phenomenon, once in a blue moon picture. Like Avatar. Last night at the BAFTA awards ceremony... the little movie that could - the $12.7 million domestic grossing The Hurt Locker (aka - the movie that made 139 times less movie than Avatar) swept away with Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, Best Editing, Best Cinematography and Best Sound, and now looks an almost certainty to win Best Picture at the Academy Awards ceremony in two weeks. Most of the public haven't seen it, and little will care too even if it takes the big statue whilst Avatar is still getting people back for a third and fourth time. Scott Fienberg of And The Winner Is blog shortly after The Hurt Locker's win mused;

the fact of the matter is that the raw data (precursor awards) and anecdotal evidence (conversations with actual voters) have rarely, if ever, given the same indication as clearly and consistently as they have this year: €œThe Hurt Locker€ will win the 2009 best picture Oscar. Believe it €” it€™s true.
According to a visual numbers graph created by Business Pundit (via /film and shown below), it costs the Academy $500 to make one 13.5 inch golden statue. Avatar grossed $2.6 billion worldwide at the time of writing, but it don't count for nothing this year, it would seem. Unlike what we thought of in 1997 - you can't buy the award.

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Matt Holmes is the co-founder of What Culture, formerly known as Obsessed With Film. He has been blogging about pop culture and entertainment since 2006 and has written over 10,000 articles.