Well if you're looking to watch an Oscar-winning Best Picture, you might as well skip the months of February through September.
Since 1996, 82% of the movies that went on to win Best Picture were released within 4 months
of the presentation of the Academy Awards held in February.
It turns out that more than half of the winners were released during the two months preceding the Awards ceremony
, with January (the month before the Oscars) having the highest total of best picture-winning releases.
We offer two different explanations for these results.
It's possible that releasing a movie in the few months preceding the Oscars gives the film an edge in terms of visibility with film critics and the 6,000 members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the people who ultimately vote on the winners. These members, who are 77% male and have a median age of 62, may pay much less attention to movies released during the spring and summer months. However, as the Oscar buzz begins in the fall, film critics begin writing about their favorite movies, and the voters, who can be swayed by public opinion themselves, make their selections with an obvious bias towards the movies that are top of mind.
Film studios that are gunning for the Best Picture award may selectively time their releases to take advantage of the fall and winter months preceding the Academy Awards. Best picture-aspiring movies are often targeted at older and more mature viewers, so film producers wait to debut these films until after the summer winds down and the movie-going audience shifts from children to adults.
What's your theory?