Dramatizing any real-life event for the movies is a major challenge. Not only do you have to get the facts and time period right, but you also have to balance the truth while keeping an audience engaged and entertained. Fitting historic moments into a two-hour window usually requires a good deal of cinematic license, and Best Picture nominees are no different.
To figure out which Best Picture nominees stuck closest to the real-life stories they’re based on, the website Information is Beautiful fact-checked the only three films based on actual events: Hidden Figures, Hacksaw Ridge, and Lion. Compiled from research by data journalist David McCandless and Information is Beautiful’s Stephanie Smith, the breakdown of each movie puts Hidden Figures at the top, with a 72.6 percent accuracy rating, followed by Lion at 61.4 percent, and finally Hacksaw Ridge at 51.5 percent.
To get these ratings, the duo looked at each scene of the movie and assigned it one of five ratings: true, true-ish, false-ish, false, or unknown. The research is meticulous, with plenty of books, websites, and other sources cited throughout. Though Hidden Figures came out on top, it still wasn’t perfect, with the site explaining: “There were many, many more people involved than the movie had space to show. Still, the crux of the story is true, and any events that didn't actually happen are at least illustrative of how things really were.”
Lion gets most of its criticism for a love story that is “almost wholly invented,” while Hacksaw Ridge gets written up for pre-war material that “is either invented or distorted.”
How does this year’s crop of movies compare to years past? Well, not great, actually. Last year had The Big Short come in with a 91.4 percent accuracy rating, while 2015 had Spotlight, Bridge of Spies, and Selma get 76.2 percent, 89.9 percent, and 100 percent, respectively. That year, though, was balanced out by American Sniper garnering 56.9 percent and The Imitation Game at 41.4 percent.
Of course, none of these accuracy ratings actually reflect which movie fared better with audiences or critics, but if you want to know the true story behind some of these Best Picture nominees, you need to know the facts.
[h/t: Entertainment Weekly]