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Breaking down the Oscars by the numbers

Correction appended.

As with any Oscars, people attach numbers to nominees: A certain film was nominated this many times and here is the diversity in the nominees. This year is no different. 

With box office hits dominating almost every category and the remnants of #OscarsSoWhite and #MeToo movements still in the conversation, there is a lot to discuss with the current nominees. Here is a breakdown of the nominations told through numbers:


There are 52 films nominated for Oscars this year, including documentaries, short films and animated features. That is down from last year’s 59 movies nominated. Alfonso Cuarón’s Roma and Yorgos Lanthimos’ The Favourite lead the nominees with 10 each, followed by Bradley Cooper’s A Star Is Born and Adam McKay’s Vice, which picked up eight nominations each.


The 2018 domestic box office numbers for the Best Picture nominees was substantial this year. The box office for the 2018 Oscars was $709,083,433, more than $500 million less than the total for this year’s nominees. 

Black Panther, the highest grossing movie of 2018, made up for 55 percent of the Best Picture box office number. The film made more than $700 million in the U.S. alone, and grossed more than $1 billion worldwide. It is also the first superhero film to be nominated for the category.

The box office total for the 2019 Oscar nominees excludes Alfonso Cuarón’s Roma, which was a Netflix release and therefore did not have a box office statistic for the U.S. The film had to be shown in a limited release in the U.S., but those numbers were not available. This is the first time a Netflix film has been nominated for Best Picture.


75 percent

Of the nominees in the four acting categories, 75 percent of them are white. Rami Malek is the only non-white person nominated for Best Actor. Mexican and black actors make up 20 percent, with each owning 10 percent of the nominations. 

Last year, the nominees were 80 percent white with the other 20 percent black. 

In 2015 and 2016, the acting categories were 100 percent white, sparking the #OscarsSoWhite controversy. A few years later, nothing major has really changed. 

Yalitza Aparicio and Marina de Tavira are the two Mexican actresses representing Roma. There have only been eight different Mexican-born actors nominated in the acting categories, and no Mexican has won an Oscar for a leading role. Shut out of the acting categories are Asian actors, even with the hit Crazy Rich Asians.


The average age of those nominated for Best Director is 55 years old. The oldest of the bunch is Spike Lee, 61, who is about 6 months older than fellow nominee Paweł Pawlikowski. Three-time nominee Lanthimos is the youngest nominee in the category this year at 45.


No women were nominated for Best Director this year. It’s not shocking, per se, that no woman was nominated, but that doesn’t mean it’s all right. Only five women have been nominated in the Academy’s 91 years, and Kathryn Bigelow is the only woman to win for The Hurt Locker in 2010.

The lack of nominees presents an underlying issue about female representation in the industry’s top positions. Women directed 8 percent of the top 250 movies of 2018, which was down 3 percent from 2017, according to The Celluloid Ceiling report conducted by San Diego State University.

The 91st Academy Awards airs at 8 p.m., Feb. 24  on ABC.


Correction: A previous version of this report inaccurately classified Rami Malek as white. The story has been updated with correct numbers after this change and reflects the most accurate information.

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