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Want to win an Oscar? The data says shoot film, hire an ARRI, and more

Robbie Ryan capturing Emma Stone’s Best Actress performance for 'Poor Things' with the ARRICAM ST. Pic: ARRI
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Robbie Ryan capturing Emma Stone’s Best Actress performance for 'Poor Things' with the ARRICAM ST. Pic: ARRI

We’re not saying that this will guarantee you success at the 2025 Oscar ceremony, but for anyone looking at trends here’s everything from cameras to costs to crew sizes for this year's Best Picture nominees.

Want to win an Oscar? Well, according to the data below you’re going to have to raise $63.9 million, which really is a $64 million question. But once you’ve done that, here’s what you should do with the money based on what the nominees used this year.

First off, cameras. At the 2024 Oscars, while Best Picture winner Oppenheimer was shot on a mix of 65mm units from IMAX and Panavision, there was a clear winner in terms of the sheer amount of nominations. ARRI was involved in six out of ten Best Picture nominees, while in terms of the Best Cinematography nominated films the company also shot an impressive three from five. 

ARRI has all the details here, but to summarise, American Fiction, Anatomy of a Fall, Barbie, The Holdovers, Killers of the Flower Moon, and Poor Things all used ARRI kit. The exceptions were Oppenheimer as already mentioned, Zone of Interest which shot on Venice, and Maestro and Past Lives which both used the Panavision Millennium XL2.

Analog was back in a big way. Oppenheimer was shot on a variety of stocks and all in all half of the 2024 nominees used celluloid. This is a big uptick compared to 2023 when only Steven Spielberg’s The Fabelmans went down the film route.

Oppenheimer cinematographer Hoyte van Hoytema specifically called out film during his acceptance speech for Best Cinematography.

“To all aspiring filmmakers out there, I would like to say please try shooting with that incredible, new, hip thing called ‘celluloid,'” he said. “It’s much easier they think. And it makes things look so much better.”

Editing-wise, 2024 was very much Avid’s show. Nine out of 10 of this year’s nominees were edited on Avid Media Composer, with only Killers of the Flower Moon bucking the trend with Thelma Schoonmaker sticking to her trusty Lightworks. Jennifer Lame, ACE, also picked up the Best Editing accolade for her work on Oppenheimer.

So, hire an ARRI camera, shoot on film, and book Avid for the post. Anything else? Well, the ever-excellent frame.io Insider blog has done a deep dive into all this data and more, and also picks out some other interesting nuggets. This gives us some averages to shoot for for attempted guaranteed Oscar success.

  • Target Budget: $63.9 million
  • Days of principal shooting: 62
  • Crew: 509
  • Months in post: 12.6
  • VFX shots: 512

And, for those interested, the outliers in all those categories were Killers of the Flower Moon ($200 million and 1410 crew), Barbie (128 day shoot, 1300 VFX shots, ), and The Zone of Interest (24 months in post). While in reverse that reads Anatomy of a Fall ($7 million), American Fiction (25 day shoot with 109 crew), and Poor Things (6 months in post, and, of the titles that used vfx, only 177 vfx shots).

Easy, eh? Best start writing that acceptance speech now…

Tags: Production Oscars