erik lundegaard

Saturday February 22, 2014

IMDb's Highest-Rated Best Picture Nominee is Rotten Tomatoes' Lowest: Any Guesses?

best picture contenders 2013

When you think of the 2013 best picture nominees, if you think of the 2013 best picture nominees, you might see it as a battle between the popular, technically innovative ones (“Gravity”) versus the quietly artistic ones (“12 Years a Slave”) versus the bombastic, artistic ones (“American Hustle,” “The Wolf of Wall Street”).

So you might think that a movie like “Gravity,” the seventh highest-grossing film of the year, would do well on a user-rating site like and less well on a critics site like Similarly, “The Wolf of Wall Street,” Martin Scorsese's three-hour opus to chicanery and debauchery on Wall Street in the 1990s, would do well with the critics and leave plain folks cold.

But it's almost the opposite. These are the best picture nominees as ranked by IMDb score:

Movie IMDb rating
The Wolf of Wall Street 8.5
12 Years a Slave 8.4
her 8.3
Gravity 8.2
Captain Phillips 8.0
Dallas Buyers Club 8.0
Nebraska 7.9
Philomena 7.8
American Hustle 7.6

I assumed “Wolf of Wall Street” would be difficult for a general audience and would rank lower, while “American Hustle,” more accessible and fun, would rank higher. Instead this.

Meanwhile, over at Rotten Tomatoes, the critics hold up “Gravity” and bundle Scorsese in the trunk of a car and whack him:

Movie RT Rating
Gravity 97%
12 Years a Slave 96%
her 94%
Dallas Buyers Club 94%
Captain Phillips 93%
American Hustle 93%
Nebraska 92%
Philomena 92%
The Wolf of Wall Street 77%

77%? Veering toward rotten? So I doublechecked what “top critics,” as opposed to “all critics,” thought. Surely when you weed out the online fanboys, Marty's numbers would go higher. Nope. They actually drop: 70%.

As for IMDb, some part of me was still thinking, “Well, not enough people have seen 'The Wolf of Wall Street,' so folks easily offended, and Americans are nothing if not easily offended, haven't weighed in yet. Once they do, its number will drop.”

Except the domestic box office for Scorsese's movie is the third-highest among the nominees:

Movie Domestic Box Office
Gravity $268,428,128
American Hustle $142,383,074
The Wolf of Wall Street $111,518,691
Captain Phillips $106,892,780
12 Years a Slave $48,554,723
Philomena $31,523,936
Dallas Buyers Club $24,449,501
her $23,570,610
Nebraska $16,088,873

And its worldwide box office? Zoiks!

Movie Worldwide Box Office
Gravity $701,028,128
The Wolf of Wall Street $336,979,691
Captain Phillips $217,592,822
American Hustle $214,668,815
12 Years a Slave $118,310,402
Philomena $80,911,942
Dallas Buyers Club $30,449,501
her $27,663,751
Nebraska $16,088,873

I always think of Martin Scorsese as popular with critics and less so with moviegoers and at the box office. I know: Sex + Leo = $$$. Even so, if you'd asked me yesterday which best picture nominee had the lowest-rated Rotten Tomatoes score, the highest-rated IMDb score, and the second-highest worldwide box office, I would've guessed half the movies on the list before guessing “The Wolf of Wall Street” ... which was, of course, my favorite movie of 2013.

So kudos, people. You surprised a cynical man.

Leonardo DiCaprio in Wolf of Wall Street

Here's to IMDb and worldwide box office. RT critics can get off the boat now.

Posted at 09:14 AM on Saturday February 22, 2014 in category Movies - The Oscars  
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