Consulting Rotten Tomatoes is how many of us decide which movies are worth our $13. Maybe you can gamble on a 55% film if you love the star, and despite 87% awarded to a thriller you might know you’ll enjoy the Katherine Heigl rom-com more, but you can get a sense of the artistic value of a film by the Tomatometer. After all, it’s collecting the opinions of famous critics like Roger Ebert and Peter Travers, getting the take on films from journalists working for The New Yorker, The New York Times, and The Washington Post.
All these reviewers have something in common besides the esteem they’re held in: They all gave Best Picture nominee Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close a thumbs down, contributing to its rotten rating. It’s the only movie out of the other eight nominees to receive a rotten status on the site.
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close was awarded a 48%, or in other terms, a failing grade. The lowest rating among the other nominees is The Help’s 76%, with the other seven rated in the high 70s, 80s, and 90s. So how did Extremely Loud sneak into a pack of such well-rated films?
Some phrases kept popping up in reviews for Extremely Loud like “Oscar baiting,” “Oscar-mongering,” and “Oscar trolling.” For better or worse, this film seemed to set out with Oscar statues in its eyes and it planned accordingly. Two Academy Award-winning actors (Tom Hanks and Sandra Bullock) as leads: Check. An overly precocious kid: Check. A overwhelming tragedy that can be used for unlimited metaphoric purposes: Check.
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close’s Best Picture nomination proves there is an Academy Award formula, and following it to the letter is sure to snag you at least a nomination, no matter what the sum of those parts are.