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The 2018 Oscar nominations have finally rolled in, and while Blade Runner 2049 did well in the below-the-line categories, like Best Sound Editing and Best Visual Effects, the long-awaited sequel to Ridley Scott's Blade Runner also went mostly overlooked in the more prominent categories, like Best Picture. Some fans of the film have scratched their heads trying to figure out why that happened, but director Denis Villeneuve seems to think that it was because of low box office numbers. Per Villeneuve:
It's very uncommon for a movie that didn't do well at the box office in the United States to get a nomination for best picture.
In terms of raw numbers, Blade Runner 2049 actually did better than a number of the films nominated for Best Picture at this year's Oscars ceremony. At $259 million worldwide, it technically outperformed Jordan Peele's Get Out, Greta Gerwig's Lady Bird, and Guillermo del Toro's The Shape of Water, just to name a few. However, Blade Runner 2049 "didn't do well at the box office" in the sense that it wasn't particularly profitable. All of the aforementioned movies were made for relatively low budgets, but Blade Runner 2049 cost a staggering $150 million to produce. Viewed through the lens, the film wasn't a particularly big earner for Warner Bros.
Of course, for some of us, there were a few key indicators that Blade Runner 2049 wasn't going to a big box office earner reasonably early on in its theatrical run. These indicators ranged from the fact that not everybody has seen the original Blade Runner to the fact that asking modern audiences to sit through a slow-burn, three-hour science fiction epic is a significant request these days. Denis Villeneuve himself has spoken out about the film's lack of major commercial success and said that he doesn't entirely know why it didn't play better with mainstream audiences, and that seems to relate to his disappointment in lack of official awards recognition.
The fact that Blade Runner 2049 didn't receive a nomination for Best Picture was not the only Academy Award nomination that Denis Villeneuve felt snubbed by The Academy on. Elsewhere in his discussion with CBC about the film's lack of bigger nominations, the Arrival director noted that the score developed by Hans Zimmer and Benjamin Wallfisch deserved more official recognition. Alas, in the spirit of Denis Villeneuve's take on this entire situation, a "hybrid" movie that combined elements of arthouse cinema and blockbuster filmmaking didn't make an impression in the bigger and more prestigious categories.
Although Blade Runner 2049 is not in the running for Best Picture at this year's Academy Awards ceremony, we will have to wait and see which of the nominees manages to walk away with the Oscar gold. The Academy Awards will air on Sunday, March 4 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC, and while you're catching up on the frontrunners and getting ready for the ceremony, you can also hop over to CinemaBlend's 2018 movie premiere guide to keep yourself in the loop on all of the films set to debut this year!