Fans of comic book adaptations, blockbusters, and genre films have a big reason to get excited about the Academy Awards this year. Several changes were recently made by the board of governors, including the addition of a new award for “Outstanding Achievement in Popular Film.” While the Academy hasn’t released the criteria for who might be up for this particular Oscar, it’s clearly designed to focus more on movies with the largest box office draw, especially given the pressure from ABC (whose parent company is Disney) to create the newest statue.
No matter what your opinion on this new category is, it’s definitely happening and that raises the question of who the likely contenders will be. The fall and winter are normally known as “Oscar season,” but the biggest movies of the year typically come out during the summer, which means we’ve likely already seen the winner premiere. That’s why we at ComicBook decided to sit down and place odds on which popular movies are most likely to win an Oscar this year.
We narrowed down our list using a couple of criteria since the Academy hasn’t released their own. Our odds are placed on the top ten highest grossing movies (domestically) that managed to score above 70% on Rotten Tomatoes. This means they are all clearly popular and were well enough received to be considered for an Oscar (sorry Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom and Hotel Transylvania 3). With that in mind, we’ve ranked them in order of domestic box office, so get ready to see who we think the most likely winners for the first Oscar in “Outstanding Achievement in Popular Film” will be.
Directed by Ryan Coogler
Domestic Box Office: $700 million
Black Panther is the movie to beat. It has the highest domestic box office of the year so far, received widespread critical acclaim, and ignited a cultural conversation that is still ongoing. This new Oscar seems like an excuse to provide the movie its own award, given that the stuffy Academy generally looks down upon genre fare. While any movie besides Black Panther winning would be considered an upset, it’s still far from a sure thing.
Odds to Win: 3:2prevnext
Avengers: Infinity War
Directed by Anthony and Joe Russo
Domestic Box Office: $678.3 million
Infinity War has a similar aura about it as Return of the King did in 2003, as audiences are still impressed the studio, directors, and cast managed to pull it off. It was a great movie of staggering scale. That may tempt a lot of voters to pull for this underdog in the only position where it could be considered an underdog.
Odds to Win: 10:1prevnext
Directed by Brad Bird
Domestic Box Office: $587.2 million
The Incredibles 2 is a likely contender for both this award and “Best Animated Feature Film,” given the consistent quality of Pixar Studios and the Academy’s love affair with those animators. Its prominence for two big awards could discourage votes in this category or leave many older voters with little interest doubling down on Brad Bird who is generally well liked during awards season.
Odds to Win: 5:1prevnext
Directed by David Leitch
Domestic Box Office: $318.1 million
We'll be shocked if Deadpool 2 is even nominated. That’s not to say that it isn’t popular or good, but that it is very much not the Academy’s cup of tea. It’s not just the R-rating, Deadpool 2 revels in its crudity and will likely leave many voters grimacing. That having been said, we cannot wait to see Deadpool 2’s potential Oscars campaign.
Odds to Win: 150:1prevnext
Solo: A Star Wars Story
Directed by Ron Howard
Domestic Box Office: $213.2 million
Solo may receive a nomination due to the popularity of director Ron Howard, but it is a very unlikely winner. The narrative surrounding this movie has been one of hasty directorial changes and a lukewarm reception. Where Black Panther and Avengers: Infinity War exceeded expectation, the newest Star Wars film met them (at best).
Odds to Win: 100:1prevnext
Ant-Man and the Wasp
Directed by Peyton Reed
Domestic Box Office: $200.6 million
While Ant-Man and the Wasp upped the ante from the original Ant-Man and is an excellent installment in one of Marvel Studios’ best ever years, it is overshadowed by both of their other 2018 releases. That will make it difficult for this worthy contender to even receive a nomination, much less a win. Nominating all 3 of Marvel Studios releases in the first year of the new award might just be too brazen, given Disney’s push for its creation.
Odds to Win: 80:1prevnext
A Quiet Place
Directed by John Krasinski
Domestic Box Office: $188 million
This picture stands out as one of the big surprises of 2018 and one that will likely tempt Academy voters. Krasinski has shown incredible directing chops in his debut and the Oscars have always favored actors-turned-directors in their biggest categories. The quality of this film, its clear popularity, and Krasinski’s involvement make this a likely dark horse candidate for a surprising win.
Odds to Win: 12:1prevnext
Directed by Christopher McQuarrie
Domestic Box Office: $147.3 million
Fallout is a movie that celebrates Hollywood, and there’s nothing the Academy loves more than movies that love movies. Its use of top star power, on location shooting, and the best stunts of the year are a cinephilic dream, one that could likely tempt a lot of voters who are disinclined to back a superhero movie. If there’s one feature most likely to upset the Marvel Studios juggernaut, this is it.
Odds to Win: 5:1prevnext
Directed by Gary Ross
Domestic Box Office: $138.2 million
There’s also a possibility that Ocean’s 8 could deliver a dark horse win due to many of the same factors as Fallout. It also possesses a lot of power with its stunning cast and equally stunning set of performances that make it the one female-driven feature likely to land in the nominees. As Hollywood and the Academy still struggle to respond to #MeToo, Ocean’s 8 could be both a deserving winner and a show of solidarity.
Odds to Win: 20:1prevnext
Ready Player One
Directed by Steven Spielberg
Domestic Box Office: $137 million2comments
The Academy really likes Steven Spielberg and that’s the only reason Ready Player One might be nominated. While it features lots of ephemera from movies, it’s a celebration of video games and one that chops up beloved classics for collectability. If the Academy decides to give this one a nomination nod, it will be purely as a pat on the back to its director.
Odds to Win: 120:1prev