Best Picture Oscar Nominees Are Split Between the Box Office Haves and Have-Nots

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Three films among last year’s top 15 highest grossing films were nominated while three others combined for less than $30 million domestic

The gap between the most popular films at the box office and among Oscar voters has been widening for years, if not decades. But this year’s list of Best Picture nominees shows just how big the divide is between the populist contenders that have made hundreds of millions and the prestige titles that have struggled even compared to their pre-pandemic counterparts.

On the one hand, there’s James Cameron’s “Avatar: The Way of Water,” Joseph Kosinski’s “Top Gun: Maverick” and Baz Luhrmann’s “Elvis,” three Best Picture nominees that ranked among the top 15 highest grossing films in North America. Since the Oscars expanded the top category from five nominees up to 10 in 2009, the only time three films in the top 15 got nominated was in 2018 when “Black Panther,” “A Star Is Born” and “Bohemian Rhapsody” made the list.