#OscarsSoOld? Movies That Appeal to Younger Audiences Are Scant in Oscars Lineup | Charts

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Only “Avatar: The Way of Water” and “Everything Everywhere All at Once” had younger generations dominating viewership

Stephanie Hsu in "Everything, Everywhere All at Once." (A24)

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As the entertainment world gears up for the 2023 Oscars, a question lingers over the Academy members voting on films and actors: Do they represent the moviegoing audience? 

After studies a decade ago reported an Academy membership that was overwhelmingly white and male, the organization has continued to work to expand and diversify its ranks. But an effort to limit voting to members actively working in the film industry hit accusations of ageism, and the Academy has been silent on the question of its members’ ages. One report examining the diversification effort showed an average age of 63. Some have naturally wondered if the Oscars were biased toward the preferences of older audiences. 

What we can do is look at the generational breakdown of the audiences for the movies nominated for the Best Picture award using Parrot Analytics’ demographic and demand data, which takes into account consumer research, streaming, downloads and social media, among other engagement. Of the 10 nominees for Best Picture, only “Avatar: The Way of Water” and “Everything Everywhere All at Once” had the youngest two generations making up more than 50% of the audience.

Of the older-skewing movies, “The Banshees of Inisherin” and “Top Gun: Maverick” were the favorites of Millennials ages 30-39. Over 35% of the audience of each movie belonged to this generation. “All Quiet on the Western Front” was a heavy favorite with the over-40 age group. Themes in several of these films made them more relatable to audiences older than 30 years old, such as a strong ’80s nostalgic appeal (“Top Gun: Maverick”), social satire (“Triangle of Sadness”), war drama (“All Quiet on the Western Front”), or aging and mortality (“The Banshees of Inisherin”).

Demand for Best Picture nominees, Feb. 5-March 5, 2023 (Parrot Analytics)

Three movies clearly stood out in popularity over the last 30 days: “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” “Avatar: The Way of Water” and “Top Gun: Maverick.” The next four have solid demand at 20 to 30 times that of the average movie. Although the Academy is often criticized for not listening to the public, this year there is a high probability of the most popular movie winning Best Picture, as “Everything Everywhere All at Once” is one of the frontrunners. 

Demographics for Best Picture nominees, Feb. 5-March 5, 2023 (Parrot Analytics)

Three of the nominees trail the others in terms of audience demand: “Triangle of Sadness,” “Women Talking” and “Tár.” While it’s not uncommon for a niche film like these to win, it would certainly catch people off guard. As we saw last year when “CODA” beat out much more popular movies like “Licorice Pizza,” “Dune“ and ”The Power Of The Dog,” an upset win tends to be a huge boon for movies that might not otherwise have gotten much attention.

Daniel Quinaud is a senior data analyst at Parrot Analytics, a WrapPRO partner. For more from Parrot Analytics, visit the Data and Analysis Hub.