Achieving massive success at the box office does not necessarily speak to the quality of a movie. These nine movies essentially broke even or lost money at the box office, but all went on to receive Academy Award nominations — and many even took home Oscars.

For reference before getting into the list below, the highest-grossing movie of 2022 was “Avatar: The Way of Water.” It made nearly $700 million domestically and more than $2.3 billion worldwide, per Box Office Mojo.

Here are nine movies that failed to reach financial expectations at the box office but still earned critical acclaim. (All stats are taken from Box Office Mojo).

9. ‘Hugo’ (2011)

Orphaned Hugo Cabret (Asa Butterfield) lives in the walls of a Paris train station. Hugo’s job is to maintain the clocks at the station, but he begins to spend more time wrapped up in a mystery involving his late father and an automaton.

“The film’s craft and technical achievements are of the highest order, combining to create an immaculate present to film lovers everywhere,” The Hollywood Reporter said in praise of the Martin Scorsese-directed film.

“Hugo” received 11 Academy Award nominations and took home five Oscars for: Best visual effects, best cinematography, best sound mixing, best dound rditing and best production design.

Budget: $150 million.

U.S. box office earnings: $73,864,507.

8. ‘Ad Astra’ (2019)

More than a decade ago, Clifford McBride (Tommy Lee Jones) left on a daring voyage through space and never returned. Now his son (Brad Pitt) must set out on a mission to Neptune to uncover the truth behind his father’s mysterious disappearance.

“‘Ad Astra’ is beautiful, contemplative, and loaded with meaning — not an action movie, but one that leaves you with plenty to ponder,” wrote Vox.

“Ad Astra” was nominated for several awards, including the Academy Award for best achievement in sound mixing.

Budget: $90 million.

U.S. box office earnings: $50,188,370.

7. ‘Fight Club’ (1999)

A depressed insomniac (Edward Norton) meets a peculiar soap salesman named Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt). Together, the men create an underground club where men who are bored of their mundane lives fight each other.

“An outrageous mixture of brilliant technique, puerile philosophizing, trenchant satire and sensory overload, ‘Fight Club’ is the most incendiary movie to come out of Hollywood in a long time. It’s a mess, but one worth fighting about,” lauded Newsweek.

Now considered by many to be one of the best movies of all time, “Fight Club” earned recognition after its initial release. It was nominated for an Academy Award in best sound editing.

Budget: $63 million.

U.S. box office earnings: $37,030,102.

6. ‘The Shawshank Redemption’ (1994)

Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins) is sentenced to two life terms in prison for murders he did not commit. Over the course of several years in a brutal prison, Andy befriends Red (Morgan Freeman). Together, the men overcome merciless prison life.

“‘The Shawshank Redemption’ creates a warm hold on our feelings because it makes us a member of a family. Many movies offer us vicarious experiences and quick, superficial emotions. ‘Shawshank’ slows down and looks,” praised Rogerebert.com.

“The Shawshank Redemption” was nominated for seven Academy Awards, including: Best picture, best actor, best original score, best adapted screenplay, best cinematography, best sound mixing and best film editing.

Budget: $25 million.

U.S. box office earnings: $28,767,189.

5. ‘The Fablemans’ (2022)

Sammy Fableman falls in love with film after his parents take him to see a movie in the theater. Throughout adolescence, Sammy practices his filmmaking skills as his he grapples with a complicated home life.

“This is a movie so masterfully made, you can glide along its surface without quite realising all it’s asking of you,” wrote Metro.

Although “The Fablemans” did not take home any Oscars, the film was nominated for seven Academy Awards in 2023, including: Best picture, best original score, best director, best actress, best supporting actor, best original screenplay and best production design.

Budget: $40 million.

U.S. box office earnings: $17,348,945.

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4. ‘Missing Link’ (2019)

Mr. Link (Zach Galifianakis) — an eight-foot creature covered in fur — wants to leave his life in the Pacific Northwest behind to track down his long-lost relatives in Shangri-La. With help from two exploring experts, Mr. Link sets off on the daring journey.

“Amid the noisy, epic action of most kid-oriented features, this film’s story is clear and effective: a sweet-hearted narrative of how friendship can broaden one’s horizons,” The Atlantic shared.

“Missing Link” won an Academy Award for best animated feature film — making it one of few noncomputer-generated movies to win in that category.

Budget: $100 million.

U.S. box office earnings: $16,649,539.

3. ‘Women Talking’ (2022)

Based on a true story, the women from a religious colony discover a terrible secret about the colony’s men — for years, the men have drugged the women and raped them. The women begin to talk among themselves as they grapple with the reality of their faith.

“A remarkable ensemble of performers unite for this combustible, timely chamber-piece that hails the return of Polley as an ambitious and empirical filmmaker,” Empire Magazine praised the Sarah Polley-directed film.

The Academy Award for best adapted screenplay went to “Women Talking” in 2023. It was also nominated for best picture.

Budget: $134 million.

U.S. box office earnings: $5,456,531.

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2. ‘Citizen Kane’ (1941)

A reporter is assigned to interpret newspaper tycoon Charles Foster Kane’s dying words. His investigation sheds light on Kane’s life, but he fears he may never learn the true meaning behind Kane’s last word: “Rosebud.”

“It is a two-hour show, filled to the last minute with brilliant incident unreeled in method and effects that sparkle with originality and invention. Within the trade, ‘Kane’ will stimulate keener creative efforts by Hollywood’s top directors,” lauded Variety.

Although largely considered one of the greatest films of all time, “Citizen Kane” took home just one of the nine Academy Award nominations it was given — best original screenplay. The film was also nominated for: Best picture, best director, best actor, best original score, best sound mixing, best film editing, best cinematography and best art direction.

Budget: $839,727.

U.S. box office earnings: $1,627,530.

1. ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ (1946)

It is Christmastime and George Bailey (James Stewart) is so frustrated with life he is contemplating ending it all. A guardian angel is sent to show George what the world would look like without his good deeds.

“A genuine American classic,” praised the Guardian in 2007.

“It’s a Wonderful Life” was nominated for five Academy Awards including: Best actor, best director, best sound mixing and best film editing.

Budget: $3.2 million.

U.S. box office earnings: $1,483,643.

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