Oscars' 9 Best Pictures Are Extras In a World of Box Office Heroes
Studio: Universal Studios
2012 U.S. box office take: $219 million
Oscar No. 9. Amour
Studio: Sony Classics
2012 U.S. box office take: $4.1 million
Perhaps no two films embody the polar ends of the 2012 moviegoing experience quite like Ted and Amour. After watching each film, however, viewers might want to consider watching the other just to balance themselves out again.
The Michael Haneke-directed Amour made less than 2% of Ted's take, but that's a completely realistic number for a movie that's A) In French and B) About an octogenarian watching his wife die a slow, painful death after a stroke. Ted, meanwhile, benefited from the same fan base of manchildren that made the Hangover series a success and gave director Seth McFarlane carte blanche to follow up Family Guy with a diminishing resume including American Dad and The Cleveland Show and still earn a hosting gig on Saturday Night Live.
Ted and its Boston-based tale of bros letting go only looks lightweight compared with an emotional boulder such as Amour, but it taps the same vein of humor Judd Apatow and and Paul Feig have been mining for years with Freaks and Geeks, Knocked Up and Bridesmaids. It's abrasive, but remarkably resonant and explores the human condition in ways that don't cause its core audience the same discomfort as something like Amour. The audiences of each film may sneer at each other in public, but privately they have more in common than they're willing to admit.