Movies

How the Oscar nominees did at the box office

Share

Oscars nominees at the box office

Oscar statuettes are seen in preparations for the 88th Annual Academy Awards on February 23, 2016 in Hollywood.
Getty Images

It's that time of year again when the who's who of Hollywood gather to honor the best films and filmmakers of the past year.

This time, five directors old and young, and eight films simple and bold, have what it takes to bring home the Oscar gold out of the 307 features eligible to be nominated, according to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Before that, however, they were bringing home a ton of money at the box office. From classic names, like Spielberg, to newer ones like Inarritu, we break down the box office numbers of the Best Picture nominees and the overall careers of their directors.

Before Chris Rock takes the stage at the Dolby Theater, click ahead to see how much money the Best Picture nominees have made and how much their directors have made over their careers, according to BoxOfficeMojo.com and the-numbers.com.

All domestic grosses, excluding "Room" and "Spotlight" directing, provided by BoxOfficeMojo; all worldwide grosses provided by The Numbers.

By CNBC's Josh Weiss
Posted Feb.
26, 2016

'Room' and Lenny Abrahamson

Source: Room; Getty Images

Nominated for Best Picture & Directing

Total U.S. gross ticket sales: $12.6 million

Total worldwide gross ticket sales: $19.6 million

Director's domestic box office gross to date: $13.3 million

Director's worldwide box office gross to date: $20.3 million

Known more for his quirk (like Michael Fassbender in a giant papier-mache head in "Frank"), Abrahamson's newest movie is a poignant, if not depressing tale about abduction and growing up in a forbidding environment. While it did not make a ton of money at the box office, its universal themes on humanity and life were powerful enough to warrant critical acclaim and entry into the two most important categories at the Oscars.

'Brooklyn'

Source: Getty Images; Brooklyn

Nominated for Best Picture

Total U.S. gross ticket sales: $44.3 million

Total worldwide gross ticket sales: $49.1 million

Director's domestic box office gross to date: $44.3 million

Director's worldwide box office gross to date: $55.6 million

Director John Crowley's movie looks at one of those hot-button topics being discussed in America: immigration. "Brooklyn" tells of a young Irish woman who arrives in the United States in the early 1950s and falls in love. With its theme of being torn between two worlds, this is a period piece that is extremely relateable now.

'Spotlight' and Tom McCarthy

Source: Getty Images; Spotlight

Nominated for Best Picture & Directing

Total U.S. gross ticket sales: $38.2 million

Total worldwide gross ticket sales: $58.6 million

Director's domestic box office gross to date: $63.5 million

Director's worldwide box office gross to date: $99.9 million

Hailed as one of the best investigative journalism movies since "All The President's Men," Tom McCarthy's "Spotlight" focuses on The Boston Globe's uncovering of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church. The director and his movie haven't made a killing at the box office like some of the other contenders of this list, but this could be considered his finest film after years of low-budget indies. It's especially surprising given that his Adam Sandler-centered "The Cobbler" was panned by critics last year.

'The Big Short' and Adam McKay

Source: The Big Short; Getty Images

Nominated for Best Picture & Directing

Total U.S. gross ticket sales: $67.3 million

Total worldwide gross ticket sales: $121.5 million

Director's domestic box office gross to date: $647.8 million

Director's worldwide box office gross to date: $845.4 million

Usually known for more comedic ventures like "Anchorman" and "Step Brothers," Adam McKay surprised everyone this year with a fun, yet sobering look at the collapse of the housing bubble back in 2008. With an all-star ensemble cast and unconventional methods of storytelling and filmmaking, McKay is able to explain the idiosyncrasies of big business and Wall Street without having to dumb it down too much for audiences.

'Bridge of Spies'

Source: Bridge of Spies and Getty Images

Nominated for Best Picture

Total U.S. gross ticket sales: $72.2 million

Total worldwide gross ticket sales: $161.4 million

Director's domestic box office gross to date: $4.2 billion

Director's worldwide box office gross to date: $9.5 billion

Perhaps the greatest cinematic storyteller of all time, Steven Spielberg has cranked out more classics than anyone else in the entertainment industry. Titles like "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" and "Raiders of the Lost Ark" are icons that have profoundly impacted popular culture. Moreover, his contributions to silver screen have gained more than a staggering $4 billion at the domestic box office — and over $9 billion worldwide — making him the highest grossing director of all time. More recently, however, the 69-year-old director has focuses his talents on historical epics that examine the deep price of war, freedom and humanity. After a three-year hiatus since "Lincoln," he's returned with the Cold War drama, "Bridge of Spies" about the swap of American U-2 spy pilot Francis Gary Powers for Soviet spy Rudolf Abel; it's a prime showcase of the dynamic partnership that is Spielberg and Tom Hanks.

'Mad Max: Fury Road' and George Miller

Source: Getty Images; Mad Max: Fury Road

Nominated for Best Picture & Directing

Total U.S. gross ticket sales: $157.5 million

Total worldwide gross ticket sales: $373.1 million

Director's domestic box office gross to date: $603.1 million

Director's worldwide box office gross to date: $1.2 billion

There hadn't been a "Mad Max" movie for three decades, but it was so worth the wait! "Fury Road" is a loud, violent and above all, adrenaline-pumping film that never seems to run out of post-apocalyptic gas — one of the most precious resources in the franchise that has made over $500 million worldwide. If you like big monster trucks or giant robot arms, this is the movie for you. While lacking in actual substance, it's a stunning example of eye candy that makes you ask how it was made. George Miller may be up there in years, but "Fury Road" is proof that dancing penguins isn't all he can bring to the cinematic table.

'The Revenant' and Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu

Source: Getty Images; The Revenant

Nominated for Best Picture & Directing

Total U.S. gross ticket sales: $165.9 million

Total worldwide gross ticket sales: $382.4 million

Director's domestic box office gross to date: $269.3 million

Director's worldwide box office gross to date: $723 million


Over the course of his six-feature career, Inarritu has built quite the name for himself as a daring and visionary director. His hard work paid off last year when he won the Best Directing category for "Birdman," which took home the Oscar for Best Picture. This year, he's another serious contender with "The Revenant," a gritty revenge flick that takes place in the Old West. A beautifully made piece of cinematic art, the movie made over $380 million at the worldwide box office and may even win Leonardo DiCaprio that Oscar acting gold for the first time in his career. "Finally!" says the Internet.

'The Martian'

Source: The Martian; Getty Images

Nominated for Best Picture

Total U.S. gross ticket sales: $228.3 million

Total worldwide gross ticket sales: $632.8 million

Director's domestic box office gross to date: $1.5 billion

Director's worldwide box office gross to date: $3.7 billion

Another delightful surprise this year, "The Martian" is a grounded sci-fi comedy that made it into the Best Picture category. Of course, nothing less was expected of director Ridley Scott, the highly influential — not to mention financially successful — auteur of science fiction in films. Another amazing cast mixed with plausible science and a lighthearted tone, this movie charmed its way into over $600 million at the worldwide box office.