Glamorous gowns and celebrity scandals always give movie fans and star watchers reason to tune in to the Academy Awards. But there's a huge risk facing the Oscars this year: This is the lowest-grossing group of Best Picture nominees since the academy raised the number of nominees to 10 in 2009 in an effort to include more popular films and to draw more viewers to the Oscar telecast.
Big box-office numbers generally drive higher ratings. So this year's batch could spell disappointment for ABC and advertisers.
Just a single Best Picture nominee topped $100 million, "American Sniper," which has grossed more than $300 million in the U.S., more than all the others combined. Americans haven't seen most of this year's nominees, so they are less invested in which film wins top honors.