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Can 95 years of data tell us who will win this year’s Oscar for best picture? | Oscars 2023

With celebrity slaps, movie mix-ups and viral selfies dominating the Academy Awards in the past decade, you’d be forgiven for thinking that the ceremony produces more drama than the films it was set up to celebrate.

However, this year’s best film nominations have the potential to make the 2023 Oscars different (unforeseen red-carpet-dramas notwithstanding).

Tonight’s nominees contain their fair share of so-called “Oscar bait” (long, overly serious dramas by major film studios, aiming to appeal to Academy voters), as well as comedy, action, sci-fi and, well, Avatar 2. Sequels and remakes are on the up, while big studios are losing their former ironclad grip on the world’s most recognisable gong.

Here the Guardian analyses historical data on Academy Award nominees and winners of the best picture award to find out which films might be on the brink of making Oscar history.

But while this Oscars has the potential to cause ripples, there are other trends that point towards the status quo.

Winners have traditionally been directed by multi-awarded directors (a shout out here to The Fabelmans, which has seven nominations across all categories, and is directed by Steven Spielberg, one of the most awarded film-makers).

And perhaps most importantly, best picture winners tend to have more film awards than nominees – including both Academy Awards and others such as Golden Globes or Baftas.

According to the Internet Movie Database, the South Korean film Parasite, which won best picture in 2020, won 308 awards across the board – more than any other best picture nominee. Last year’s nominee The Power of the Dog (which didn’t win) is second, with 271. In third place, with 262 wins so far, is this year’s favourite: Everything Everywhere All at Once.

But remember, it’s not over until the envelope is opened … well, unless there’s a repeat of 2017.

About the data

The data used for this analysis comes from the International Movie Database, TV Tropes, Wikipedia, Wikidata and The Guardian’s own research.

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