Here’s what happened today in Oscar History.
We had two films release this past weekend with the potential for Oscar nominations.
In 1959, William Wyler created for the world, an undeniable classic. The film has earned a level of familiarity that it’s always interesting when people haven’t heard of it.
Based on a novel by Lew Wallace, Ben-Hur has been adapted to the screen twice before, the first time as a silent film that ended up a box office success. The play did as well, but the second filmic adaptation was unparalleled in its support. In 1959, it made $74 million at the box office. If that were adjusted to today’s numbers, it would have made over $848 million, which puts it at #14 on the all-time top grossing films adjusted for inflation. Only two films in the last 30 years have managed to top it: Titanic and Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
Every week, we’ll take a look back in 5-year intervals at the box office past to explore how Oscar’s nominees were doing at the box office each weekend historically. All data is collected from Box Office Mojo. The first section under each year is the positioning of all Oscar nominees during that weekend at the box office (as well as a section looking at the inflation-adjusted numbers). The third section is an alphabetical list of those films and the categories in which they were nominated. And to start each week off, we’ll be looking at the films releasing over the weekend that have the best chance of getting Oscar nominations and specifying the categories where we think they have the best shots at this stage of the game. If you have any suggestions for more data you’d like to see, please let us know.
Oscar Potential: Original Score, Film Editing, Cinematography, Production Design, Costume Design, Makeup & Hairstyling, Sound Mixing, Sound Editing, Visual Effects.
Oscar Potential: Animated Feature.
Oscar Potential: Foreign Language Film.
Born April 28, 1941 in Valsjöbyn, Jämtland County, Sweden, Ann-Margret (Olsson) was the daughter of an employee of an electrical company. Her father got work in the U.S. in 1942, but did not send for his wife and daughter until 1946. Ann-Margret became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1949. She wanted to be a dancer ever since her father took her to Radio City Music Hall the day she arrived in New York and trained to be one at an early age. She quit Northwestern University in 1959 to pursue a career in Las Vegas where she was discovered by George Burns and immediately given a recording contract.
Ann-Margret made her film debut as Bette Davis’ daughter in 1961’s Pocketful of Miracles and played her first sex-kitten role opposite Pat Boone in 1962’s State Fair. Her performances in 1963’s Bye Bye Birdie and 1964’s Viva Las Vegas opposite Elvis Presley made her a top box-office star. She won kudos for her performance in 1965’s The Cincinnati Kid but most of her films of the 1960s, all of them a variation on her sex kitten persona, were dismissed by critics. She wasn’t taken seriously by the critics until Mike Nichols cast her opposite Jack Nicholson in 1971’s Carnal Knowledge for which she received her first Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress. She was nominated fur years later as Best Actress for Ken Russell’s film of the The Who’s Tommy.
We had three films release this past weekend with the potential for Oscar nominations.
The Oscars are a funny sport, some actors can deliver weak and inconsequential performances and get nominated while others deliver a series of strong performances only to get a nomination years later for something pointless. Some will get nominated for the only good role they’ve ever had. Then there’s Meryl Streep, a class all unto her own and someone who has managed to, in some ways accomplish each of these three tasks.
Florence Foster Jenkins isn’t going to be a box office darling. Critics weren’t that impressed with it, but they all agree that the cast is enjoying themselves and, for Streep, that may be all she needs to get an Oscar nomination. At this point, it’s de rigeur adding her to your predictions list, the question is trying to figure out what she’ll get nominated for and what she won’t. The only thing you can say for sure this year is that if she is nominated, she won’t win.