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Oppenheimer is the 24th “powerful” Best Picture Oscar winner

4 minute read | March 2024

Oppenheimer is the 24th “powerful” winner of the Best Picture Oscar and the ninth this century according to Nielsen Gracenote’s mood analysis of Oscar winners. 

•     Oppenheimer is the first “powerful” Best Picture winner since the ‘uplifting’ (and ‘poignant’) Green Book five years ago. It is the ninth “powerful” winner this century. The only other level 1 Gracenote mood with more than three winners in the 21st century is “emotional”, with seven.

•     Fifteen of the 25 films to win Best Picture in the 21st century have been primarily “powerful”, “emotional” or both according to Gracenote’s analysis.

•     The 1940s is the only full decade in the history of the Academy Awards without a “powerful” winner of Best Picture.

•     According to Gracenote’s mood taxonomy, “emotional” films are the second most successful in the Best Picture category with 22 winners, most recently CODA two years ago. “Tense” movies are third with 15 winners, but none since 2013, followed by “fun” with 13.

•     Gladiator (2001), A Beautiful Mind (2002), Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (2004), Slumdog Millionaire (2009), The Hurt Locker (2010), The King’s Speech (2011), Spotlight (2016) and Green Book (2019) are the previous “powerful” Best Picture Oscar winners of the 21st century.

•     Oppenheimer’s “powerful” moods are ‘gripping’ and ‘epic’. The nine previous Best Picture Oscar winners whose most important moods included ‘gripping’ are Cavalcade (1934), From Here To Eternity (1954), The Bridge On The River Kwai (1958), A Man For All Seasons (1967), Midnight Cowboy (1970), Patton (1971), Gladiator (2001), The Hurt Locker (2010) and Spotlight (2016).

•     The five previous ‘epic’ Best Picture Oscar winners are The Bridge On The River Kwai (1958), Ben-Hur (1960), Lawrence Of Arabia (1963), Dances With Wolves (1991) and Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (2004).

•     Oppenheimer is also ‘contemplative’, ‘tense’ and ‘bold’ according to Gracenote’s classification of the film’s less important moods. Gracenote’s video descriptors identify All About Eve (1951), No Country For Old Men (2008) and Parasite (2020) as previous ‘contemplative’ Best Picture Oscar winners. All About Eve and Parasite are both ‘contemplative’ and ‘tense’. Lawrence of Arabia (1963)and Braveheart (1996) included ‘bold’ amongst their most important moods

Note: Sensual is not included in the chart above as no Best Picture nominee has ever had a primary mood which falls into the sensual group. 

About Gracenote Video Descriptors

Gracenote Video Descriptors, part of Gracenote’s Advanced Discovery suite of offerings, provides hierarchical, rich descriptors with a structured global taxonomy applied across content. The taxonomy provides descriptors across mood, theme, scenario, character and topic, enabling you to connect audiences with fresh and relevant content aligning with their preferences – increasing viewer satisfaction, engagement and retention on your service.
Go beyond genre – Gracenote Video Descriptors provide a multidimensional content classification system. Structured hierarchically and curated by Gracenote’s world-class editorial team, Gracenote Video Descriptors facilitate deeper correlations between content, enabling nuanced discovery surfacing unexpected content, solutions to zero-search results and many more. For more information:

About Gracenote

Gracenote is the content solutions business unit of Nielsen providing entertainment metadata, content IDs and related offerings to the world’s leading creators, distributors and platforms. Gracenote technology enables advanced content navigation and discovery capabilities ensuring consumers can easily connect to the music, TV shows, movies and sports they love while delivering powerful content analytics making complex business decisions simpler.

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