We like to think Best Picture goes to the year's most celebrated film, but that's hardly the case. In fact, just three of the past 20 winners ("12 Years a Slave," "The Hurt Locker" and "Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King") were the best-reviewed movies of that respective year on Metacritic.
The review aggregator compiled data regarding the correlation between critical reception and the Academy Awards' preferences. Of the past two decades, 10 of the best-reviewed titles (including "Ratatouille," "Pan's Labyrinth," "Spirited Away" and "Hoop Dreams") didn't even earn Best Picture nominations.
If "Boyhood" wins at Feb. 22's ceremony, as it was widely expected to before "Birdman" nabbed the final major guild award for which it was nominated this past weekend, it will mean another year in which the top film on Metacritc does indeed ride its wave all the way to Best Picture. "Birdman" is the third highest-reviewed film, with "Selma" -- which, infamously, has almost no likelihood of winning -- sandwiched between them.