Oscar Impact: Scorsese on Effects of Winning Best Picture

The value of the Best Picture goes beyond box-office appeal, bestowing prestige on its filmmakers, turning the winning films into more visible and accessible fare–sort of a socio-cultural phenom.

With the Oscar on their side, these movies acquire the “must-see” label for a much larger public of viewers, many of whom would not have seen them otherwise. The Oscar Award provides a kind of legitimacy of approval, as director Martin Scorsese, a multiple-Oscar nominee and winner once observed: “When people see the label Academy Award winner, they go to see that movie.”

This may have negative effects too, as Scorsese noted, “the Academy voters feel a sense of responsibility, which means that they tend to choose movies by their “proper” subject matter rather than artistic merit.