Oppenheimer is Americans' top pick for Best Picture at the 2024 Oscars

Taylor OrthDirector of Survey Data Journalism
February 23, 2024, 10:06 PM GMT+0

Oppenheimer is the frontrunner in this year's Oscars Best Picture race: More Americans say it should win than any other nominee, and the same is true for opinion of who will win. With the exceptions of Oppenheimer and Barbie, few Americans have seen any of this year's nominees as of a few weeks before the Academy Awards on March 10, though sizable shares say they would like to see each one.

One in three Americans (33%) are planning to watch at least some of this year's Oscars; 13% say they'll watch all of it and 57% don't expect to tune in at all. By 52% to 20%, Americans strongly or somewhat approve — rather than disapprove — of the choice of Jimmy Kimmel to host the awards this year.

Half of Americans (53%) haven't seen any of the 10 movies nominated for Best Picture this year. Just 15% have seen at least three of them, and only 2% have seen them all. Barbie has been viewed by the largest share (32%), followed by Oppenheimer (22%). Between 7% and 12% have seen each of the other eight nominees.

Among people who haven't seen each film, the largest share (50%) say they want to see Oppenheimer, followed by Killers of the Flower Moon (38%). The smallest share (22%) want to see The Zone of Interest. (Among all Americans, the percentages for each of those films, respectively, who both haven't seen it and want to are 39%, 34%, and 20%).

Like many critics and the betting markets, Americans are most likely to expect Oppenheimer will be the 2024 Best Picture winner. Oppenheimer is also the film that Americans are most likely to say should win the award. Barbie is a somewhat distant second on both questions, followed by Killers of the Flower Moon.

After the winner is announced, though, it may not remain widely known as this year's Best Picture. In our latest survey, just one-quarter of Americans (24%) correctly identified last year's Best Picture winner as Everything Everywhere All at Once.

The vast majority of Americans who have seen each of this year's Best Picture nominees have a positive opinion of them. And while most people who saw last year's nominees just before the 2023 awards also said they were enjoyable, the 2024 contenders are on average, somewhat better-liked. Fewer than 15% say they disliked or hated any of the nominees they've seen this year. Last year, six of the 10 nominees were disliked or hated by 15% or more of the people who had seen them.

Oscars viewership has fallen over the past decade, leading some to question whether adjustments should be made to the awards show in order to attract more viewers. We asked Americans with at least some interest in the Oscars what they'd like to see more or less of among seven aspects of the ceremony. While many said they'd leave things as they are, at least one in three said they'd like there to be more awards (37%), more movie clips (34%), fewer speeches, and shorter speeches from winners (26%) and hosts (33%).

By 54% to 27%, Americans say it is inappropriate rather than appropriate for Oscar winners to discuss politics in their acceptance speeches. People who are very interested in the Oscars disagree: 50% say political speeches are appropriate while 33% say they aren't. Democrats (38%) are far less likely than Republicans (81%) to say they're inappropriate.

Which awards are Oscars-followers interested in? When asked to select all that apply from a list of 23 awards, the largest shares say they are interested in Best Actor (72%), Best Picture (67%), Best Actress (64%), Best Supporting Actor (45%), Best Supporting Actress (44%), and Best Director (39%). Fewer than 15% say they're interested in each of the awards given to short films.

37% of Americans with at least some interest in the Oscars say they want more awards, the most popular of the possible changes polled about. Which awards would they want added? When asked whether they'd support adding any of five awards, 46% say they'd support adding an award for Best Popular Film, 37% for Best Casting (an award that will be introduced in 2026), 36% for Best Voice-Over Performance, 35% for Best Stunt Coordination, and 26% for Best Ensemble.

Are Oscars winners the kinds of films people like best? While only 10% of Americans say their favorite types of movies are very similar to Oscar winners, another 27% say they are somewhat similar; 30% say they are not very or not at all similar. A larger share of people who are very interested in the Oscars say the winners very closely resemble their favorites (41%).

In terms of how often various genres are nominated for Oscars, Americans are most likely to say that science fiction (26%), horror (24%), and comedy films (22%) are underrepresented, among 10 types of films asked about. Drama (21%) and romance (17%) are most likely to be seen as overrepresented. No single genre was seen as over- or underrepresented by even 40% of Americans.


— Carl Bialik contributed to this article

See the results for this YouGov poll

Methodology: The poll was conducted among 2,000 U.S. adult citizens on two separate surveys from February 15 - 18, 2024 and February 16 - 19, 2024, with each survey taken by 1,000 U.S. adult citizens. Respondents were selected from YouGov’s opt-in panel using sample matching. A random sample (stratified by gender, age, race, education, geographic region, and voter registration) was selected from the 2019 American Community Survey. The sample was weighted according to gender, age, race, education, 2020 election turnout and presidential vote, baseline party identification, and current voter registration status. Demographic weighting targets come from the 2019 American Community Survey. Baseline party identification is the respondent’s most recent answer given prior to November 1, 2022, and is weighted to the estimated distribution at that time (33% Democratic, 31% Republican). The margin of error for the overall sample is approximately 3%.

Image: Getty (John Phillips)

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