Featured in this article:
  • What are Rotten Tomatoes scores and audience scores?
  • How do best picture nominations, winners, compare to their Rotten Tomatoes score?

I don’t know about you, but I always check Rotten Tomatoes before I watch a new movie. I’ve fallen victim to a well-done trailer that makes a film look way more interesting than it actually is, taking away 90 minutes of my life that I can never get back too many times.

In anticipation of the Oscars next month on April 25th, we’re taking a look back on cinema wins and losses from recently-passed Academy Awards shows.

Since Rotten Tomatoes is our review go-to, we’re looking at how Academy Award Best Picture nominations & winners, and how their respective Rotten Tomatoes scores compare—Now, let’s get in to the numbers.

director Bong Joon-ho meets with South Korean President Moon Jae-in

Bong Joon-ho meets South Korean President Moon Jae-in and first lady Kim Jung-sook in Seoul, South Korea.

2019: Parasite, Bong Joon-Ho and Kwak Sin-ae

Parasite made history at the 2020 Academy Awards for being the first non-english language film to win Best Picture.

The Korean film about social inequality caused a stir amongst the Academy itself, with some members arguing that it shouldn’t have been nominated because it wasn’t an English film. An anonymous voter even said it shouldn’t have gone up against “regular films”.

2019’s nomination list was filled with period pieces (1917, The Irishman, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood) and dramas (Little Women, Marriage Story, Ford v Ferrari), and many people thought 1917 would pull through as the winner. It had won several precursor awards and top honors from the Producers Guild and Directors Guild, among others.

In terms of betting, many sportsbooks had odds that were slightly more in favor of 1917, with Parasite falling close behind. The two films were neck and neck, which is interesting to see given the Rotten Tomatoes scores for 1917. The Tomatometer score definitely wasn’t the lowest of the bunch at 89% (that would be Joker), but four films had higher scores than that. Looking at the audience rating as well, Ford v Ferrari is the clear audience winner with a score of 98%, beating out Parasite by 8%.

2019 Oscars Nominees & Rotten Tomatoes Score

Film Tomatometer Score Audience Score
Parasite (winner) 98% 90%
Little Women 95% 92%
The Irishman 95% 86%
Marriage Story 94% 85%
Ford v Ferrari 92% 98%
1917 89% 88%
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood 85% 70%
Jojo Rabbit 80% 94%
Joker 68% 88%

=87.8% approval from audience

=88.4% approval from rotten tomatoes

2019 also saw pretty high overall approval ratings from both the Tomatometer and audience scores for nominated films. For the previous two years, the reviews were somewhat mixed between the two scores.

2018: Green Book, Jim Burke, Charles B. Wessler, Brian Currie, Peter Farrelly, and Nick Vallelonga

Although Green Book had a lower Tomatometer score, it was clearly the audience favorite out of the other nominees. None of the other seven nominees broke a 90% audience score, with Bohemian Rhapsody being the next closest at 85%.

By looking at the Tomatometer scores, it’s clear that film critic reviews had nothing to do with the Oscar winner this year. Black Panther and BlacKkKlansman are tied at 96% while Green Book is at 78%. Black Panther gained widespread attention and love for starring the first black superhero from mainstream comic books. It was a pretty big deal – it wound up being the highest grossing film in the U.S. and Canada in 2018. Unfortunately, the odds were not in favor of Black Panther winning.

Sportsbooks had Roma pegged as the favorite to win. It was looking like it was going to be the first film distributed by Netflix to take home Best Picture, until Green Book ultimately pulled through. It had the highest audience score of all nominated films at 91%, but received some flack from film critics who said it promoted a white-savior narrative.

Bohemian Rhapsody was interesting to look at, particularly because of the 24% difference between the Tomatometer score at the audience score. Rotten Tomatoes gave the film a 61%, which is the lowest Tomatometer score from these three years.

2018 Oscars Nominees & Rotten Tomatoes Score

Film Tomatometer Score Audience Score
BlacKkKlansman 96% 83%
Black Panther 96% 79%
Roma 95% 72%
The Favourite 93% 69%
A Star is Born 90% 79%
Green Book (winner) 78% 91%
Vice 65% 60%
Bohemian Rhapsody 61% 85%

=77% from audience

=84% from rotten tomatoes

Guillermo del Toro wins best director for The Shape of Water

Guillermo del Toro with the Oscar for best director for ‘The Shape of Water’.

2017: The Shape of Water, Guillermo del Toro and J. Miles Dale

This year was interesting to look at. Four out of the other eight nominees had higher Tomatometer and audience scores than The Shape of Water, with Get Out seemingly being the most popular.

Many sportsbooks had Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri as the favorite to win, followed by The Shape of Water and Get Out as the next most likely, respectively. Despite its 99% Tomatometer score, Lady Bird was not a top contender to win.

Many film buffs regard Get Out as the “true winner” of the Oscars that year, though multiple Academy voters allegedly declared that it was not “an Oscar film” and shouldn’t have been nominated.

Coming through as an underdog, The Shape of Water won, despite having the second-lowest audience score of all 2017 nominees. Many critics praised the film for having a “tenderness” that wasn’t often found in Guillermo del Toro films, and called it del Toro’s best work since Pan’s Labyrinth.

2017 Oscars Nominees & Rotten Tomatoes Score

Film Tomatometer Score Audience Score
Lady Bird 99% 79%
Get Out 98% 86%
Call Me By Your Name 94% 86%
Dunkirk 92% 81%
The Shape of Water (winner) 92% 72%
Phantom Thread 91% 71%
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri 90% 87%
The Post 88% 73%
Darkest Hour 84% 82%

=79.6% from audience

=92% from rotten tomatoes

Now that you’ve read up on past Oscars nominees, take a look at the 2021 Academy Awards nominees and the latest odds.

Veronica Taylor

Veronica Taylor is a card game enthusiast who you can find checking out the latest themed online casino games or sports betting trends. When she’s not writing about what’s new in the gambling world and industry (both online and on land), you can find her watching the NBA and looking up assorted player facts. (Did you know Lebron snacks on apples and almond butter everyday?)

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