And the Award for Most Picture 2022 goes to…

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Our data division calculates the most rewatched film of the 94th Academy Awards Best Picture nominees; editor in chief Gemma Gracewood looks at what the numbers mean for streamers vs theaters.  

Congratulations to Sîan Heder and her CODA cast and crew on winning Best Picture at the 94th Academy Awards ceremony. It was a feel-good win at the end of a truly weird and sometimes upsetting ceremony, after a strong and very long campaign (CODA first appeared on the scene all the way back at Sundance in January 2021, when Ella Kemp wrote in our coverage: “A film so earnest it shouldn’t work, with a heart so big it should surely not fit the size of the screen”). 

But there’s what the Academy members decide, there’s what Letterboxd ratings decide (Drive My Car is the clear winner on that front), and then there’s what your compulsive viewing habits decide. As we often like to do, we looked up the rewatch numbers for the Best Picture Oscar nominees, in order to calculate which of the Best Picture finalists is the Most Picture. That is, the film that Letterboxd members have most obsessively rewatched (by logging it two or more times in their Letterboxd diaries). 

Cue drum-roll… and envelope please!

The winner of Most Picture, by a very long lead, is Denis Villeneuve’s Dune, which also picked up the lion’s share of the technical Oscars on the night, winning six awards from ten nominations. 

Coming in at number two is Paul Thomas Anderson’s Licorice Pizza, with 17,719 total rewatches against Dune’s 62,359. Here is the full list of the ten 2022 Oscar Best Picture nominees ranked by the total number of watches by Letterboxd members who have logged each film two or more times up until 27 March 2022. 

The 2020 Oscars was the last major ceremony to award films that had been released into a pre-pandemic environment, so these 2022 Most Picture numbers make interesting reading for what they suggest about theatrical versus at-home releases. For comparison, there were just 859 rewatches between 2020’s Most Picture winner, Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood, and the actual Best Picture winner from that year, Parasite, which makes that 44,640-watch difference between Dune and Licorice Pizza pretty huge. 

As with other Warner Bros releases through 2021, Dune had an HBO Max premiere in the US (after having its original November 2020 release slot delayed). The film streamed on HBO Max for a month from October 21, enabling subscribers to rewatch it for as many of those 31 days as possible, before becoming rentable for everyone else on regular home release. Outside the US, Dune had a decent run of theatrical screenings, albeit during the rising Omicron wave. 

These factors all account for Dune’s healthy Letterboxd rewatches, along with the fact that it was released earlier than most of the other Best Picture finalists. And, that it’s great. It was, after all, the Most Popular film in our 2021 Year in Review, and was second only behind Bo Burnham: Inside in the Most Obsessively Rewatched overall for last year. 

The Most Picture anomaly is Licorice Pizza in second place. Given that streaming releases make for incredibly easy rewatchability, it’s to be expected that Don’t Look Up (Netflix), West Side Story (Disney+) and The Power of the Dog (Netflix) would sit higher up the list than a film like Drive My Car. But having Licorice Pizza sitting ahead of them in that number two spot, in spite of its limited theatrical release in the lead-up to its wider Christmas cinematic roll-out? The film only became available on demand very recently, and it’s still not streaming. This indicates a strong pull for Paul Thomas Anderson and his young cast—particularly among younger movie-goers, many of whom saw the film multiple times in cinemas. That PTA love is strong (tell us something we don’t know).

As for the actual Best Picture winner? CODA, which swept the 2021 Sundance Film Festival awards and set a festival record for its $25 million price tag, landed on Apple TV+ on August 13 last year. Despite that longer lead time, it came in eighth place out of ten on our Most Picture list, with just 3,483 logged rewatches, even while being carried on a streaming service, which would allow for plenty of revisits. (Maybe the rewatches will climb now that it’s taken home not only Best Picture—the first by a streaming service to do so—but also Adapted Screenplay for Heder, and Supporting Actor for Troy Kotsur.)  

It’s heartwarming to see Ryusuke Hamaguchi fans steer his Best International Feature winner, Drive My Car, to a higher rewatch slot than CODA, Belfast and King Richard. God alone knows what man’s real calling is; apparently for some of you, it’s to watch Yūsuke Kafuku’s multi-lingual staging of Uncle Vanya many times over. Meanwhile, Nightmare Alley got its perfectly acceptable middle slot thanks to a HBO Max and Hulu release in February. Justice for the geek.  

Other numbers of interest from this year’s Oscars:

—One: the number of openly queer women of color to have won an acting award. Ariana DeBose is the first, winning the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for West Side Story. 

—Three: the number of women who have won Best Director, courtesy of newly minted Oscar-winning director Jane Campion. She won for The Power of the Dog, her second Oscar after her Original Screenplay award for 1993’s The Piano

—Eight: categories that were cut from the live show (Dune won most of ’em).

—Two: the number of Japanese films to have won Best International Feature, thanks to Drive My Car’s win.  

—One: the number of deaf men who have taken home an Academy Award for acting. Congratulations Troy Kotsur! 

—Zero: the number of shirts Timothée Chalamet chose to wear. 

And thus we conclude our 2021—2022 Awards Season coverage. Read Brian Formo’s insider’s guide to awards season to get a deeper insight into how campaigns work, and round out your Oscars season with our updated lists for all nominated films, Best Picture, Best Animated Feature, Best Documentary Feature, Best International Feature and Best Shorts. For a full set of Oscar winners through the ages, check out Floorman’s comprehensive lists

For those who are ready to dive straight back in, our Awards Season 2022-2023 list is already on the go. Yes, we shall live through the long procession of days before us, and through the long evenings. I need a lie-down. 

Gemma Gracewood, Editor in Chief