Furious 7 was better than you thought it was going to be. Admit it. Part seven in pretty much ANY franchise is guaranteed to suck, but on top of that, Furious 7 lost its leading man during shooting, and still figured out a way to reach theaters. That’s downright impossible, and Furious 7 director James Wan believes his movie should have been rewarded for its accomplishments.
And he’s totally right.
James Wan was in Las Vegas, promoting his upcoming The Conjuring 2 at CinemaCon, when he started talking with Yahoo Movies about his team on Furious 7. Wan’s top star, Vin Diesel, went on record a while back saying that Furious 7 should have won Best Picture at the Oscars. Wan actually believes, though, that a Visual Effects nomination should have been a given. He stated:
Furious 7 would not have been able to be completed if it wasn’t for the amazing team that got behind it and finished all the visual effects. There were all these other great movies, but the movies that were nominated, I’ve seen all that stuff before. But we have never seen a movie where we took someone who was no longer around and kept him alive. Literally. So that was one that I felt cheated on.
It’s really hard to argue against that. Paul Walker died in a car crash during the filming of Furious 7, forcing the production to rework its script and go to great measures to help the actor complete his performance. We have covered it in great detail, but James Wan essentially hired Walker’s brothers to fill in for their late sibling, and added Paul Walker’s facial features through digital renderings to complete scenes. It wasn’t perfect, but it was suitable. And it even allowed the series to give both the actor and his character a proper send off.
Was it Oscar worthy? I believe so, yes. This year’s nominees included Ex Machina, Mad Max: Fury Road, The Martian, The Revenant and Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Of that pack, The Revenant stole Furious 7’s slot. Nothing in that movie, from a Visual Effects standpoint, stood out. Ex Machina won, for turning the beautiful Alicia Vikander into an A.I. creation. And that was stunning. But I still believe James Wan makes a very good point.
What do you think? Was Furious 7 penalized because it was perceived as empty blockbuster cinema? Or should the work taking place in summer-movie sequels also count in the eyes of the Academy? Do they face an uphill battle when trying to catch the attention of stodgy Academy voters? Weigh in below.