Oscars 2022: Americans say Best Picture competition is wide open

Jamie BallardData Journalist
March 23, 2022, 9:04 PM GMT+0

Ahead of the 2022 Academy Awards happening on March 27, YouGov surveyed Americans about which Best Picture nominees they’ve seen and which one they think deserves to take home the night’s biggest honor.

Relatively few Americans have seen any of the Best Picture nominees. “Dune” (26%), “West Side Story” (25%), and “Don’t Look Up” (24%) are the most viewed, followed by a sharp drop to “King Richard” (14%), “The Power of the Dog” (12%), and “Nightmare Alley” (11%). Around one in 10 Americans have seen each of “Belfast” (10%), “CODA” (9%), and “Drive My Car” (8%). Rounding out the bottom of the list, at 7%, is “Licorice Pizza.”

The relatively low share of people who have seen each Best Picture nominee may be attributed in part to the fact that few Americans see their movie preferences reflected in the category. Only 23% of Americans say the types of movies that are nominated for Best Picture are similar to the types of movies they enjoy (including 38% of Democrats and 20% of Republicans). Another 26% say they are not, while 41% are unsure and 11% say they don’t watch movies.

While few Americans have seen any single Best Picture nominee, those with interest in the Oscars are more likely to have seen each of this year’s nominees.

Among people who are interested in the Oscars, “West Side Story” and “Dune” still rank at the top for viewership, with 46% and 44% having seen them, respectively. Around one-third of this group have seen each of “Don’t Look Up” (36%) and “King Richard” (34%), and 28% have seen “The Power of the Dog.” “Licorice Pizza” remains the least-seen, but one in five (20%) Oscars fans have caught it.

But some Americans who haven’t yet seen this year’s slate of films are still interested in catching them.

Among those who haven’t seen it yet, 22% are interested in seeing “West Side Story.” Slightly fewer of those who haven’t seen each film are interested in “King Richard” (17%), “Dune” (17%), “Belfast” (16%), and “The Power of the Dog” (16%).

What Americans think of some of this year’s Best Picture nominees

Americans who have seen this year’s Best Picture nominees tend to view them positively. Among the five nominees with enough viewers for meaningful survey results, the greatest share said they loved “King Richard,” and it also led in share who loved or liked it, and in fewest who hated it.

Which movie do Americans think will win Best Picture?
Three in five (58%) Americans say they are not sure what movie will win Best Picture. About one in 12 (8%) predict it will go to “West Side Story”, while 6% anticipate “Don’t Look Up” or “Dune” (6%) will win the night’s biggest award.

Among Americans who are very or somewhat interested in the Academy Awards, 16% think “West Side Story” will win Best Picture. One in 10 (10%) think it will go to “CODA” and 9% say “Belfast.”

Which movie do Americans think should win the Oscar for Best Picture?

While more Americans say “West Side Story” is the most likely to win Best Picture than any other nominee, is this the film they think should win?

The majority (58%) of U.S. adults say they are not sure which movie should win Best Picture. But 8% do think “West Side Story” should take home the Oscar, though about as many (7%) think “King Richard” is the most deserving.

Audiences who are at least somewhat interested in the Oscars also have “West Side Story” (17%) as their pick for which movie should win Best Picture. “King Richard” comes in with 12% who think this should win, trailed by “Dune” (10%) and “The Power of the Dog” (9%).

Related: What Americans think of the Oscars in 2022: Politics, diverse nominees, and COVID-19

See the toplines and crosstabs from the March 3 - 7 U.S. News poll, and the toplines and crosstabs from the March 4 - 7 U.S. News poll

Methodology: The two U.S. News surveys were conducted by YouGov, each using a nationally representative sample of 1,000 U.S. adult citizens interviewed online: one between March 3 - 7, 2022, and the other between March 4 - 7, 2022. The samples were weighted according to gender, age, race, and education based on the 2018 American Community Survey, conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau, as well as 2020 Presidential votes (or non-votes) and news interest. Respondents were selected from YouGov’s opt-in panel to be representative of all U.S. adult citizens.

Image: Getty

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