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December is always a big month for the movie business, as it’s when the studios trot out all their big awards contenders for the year. This particular December is an even bigger deal, however, what with a little movie called Star Wars: The Force Awakens hitting theaters in just a few days. A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away the first Star Wars film was nominated for Best Picture but is such a thing possible for the new installment? Some people are saying yes.
While Star Wars as a franchise has 22 Oscar nominations, it has only seven wins, and six of those were for the first film. For the most part, the series has been limited to nominations for effects, but in 1977 George Lucas himself received two nominations - one for directing and one for writing the film’s screenplay. The expectation is that Star Wars: The Force Awakens will be a great movie, but Scott Feinberg of The Hollywood Reporter is putting forth the idea that it might also be great cinema potentially up for multiple awards categories. Coming out of last night’s premiere, several members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences are giving the film some pretty glowing reviews. Add to that the fact that now up to 10 films can be nominated for The Best Picture Oscar, and the odds are starting to look good.
While the movies that win awards and the movies that make Scrooge McDuck swimming in a vault levels of money are not usually the same the movies, that’s not always the case. The two highest grossing movies of all time, Titanic and Avatar, were both nominated for Best Picture, and the former title won the award. One of this past summer’s biggest hits, Mad Max: Fury Road has begun to rack up movie of the year awards already, causing Oscar buzz for it as well.
The key to a potential Star Wars Oscar appears to be passion. This is something that this film certainly has. By contrast, most of the other expected Oscar contenders don’t necessarily have a critical mass of fans. Leonardo DiCaprio’s The Revenant is on the short list, but it’s not exactly expected to be a blockbuster hit. Quentin Tarantino is stirring up political trouble of his own, that may cause blowback onto The Hateful Eight. If the one thing that everybody can agree on is that they love Star Wars then maybe a nomination, or even a win, isn’t that crazy of a possibility.
While it’s difficult for most of us to tell how likely the possibility of an Oscar for Star Wars: The Force Awakens is, because we’re cursed with having to wait a couple more days to see it, what do you think? Will a science fiction movie be overlooked simply because it’s science fiction, or will the overwhelming love for the series result in Academy recognition?