Will 'The Force Awakens' Be Nominated For An Oscar? The Film Has A Lot Going For It
Star Wars: The Force Awakens has awakened the spirit of children of all ages. How do we know? Aside from the fact that the film has broken many, many records, to the point that it's replaced even James Cameron's Avatar on the highest-grossing pictures list, it's also a critical darling. In December 2015, a week after the Broadcast Film Critics Association announced its nominations, it added Star Wars to its Best Picture list. All of that makes for a stellar nomination for J.J. Abrams' venture into a galaxy far, far away, but will the Critics' Choice nomination mean Star Wars will have a chance for an Oscar nomination? It could definitely be good news for The Force Awakens when the Oscar nominations are announced on Thursday.
According to Variety, the only other time an 11th nominee has been added after nominees were announced was the film Castaway in the year 2000. The BFCA decided to let Star Wars enter the race because of, basically, a scheduling issue: "The film was not screened in time for nominations balloting, so the board of directors decided to hold a special vote on Monday to determine if it would have been nominated had members been able to consider it. J.J. Abrams’ pic was thereby able to thwart the rules." Not only that, but there was, apparently, an "unprecedented outcry" because they weren't able to screen it in time. But it ended up for the best, as the BFCA decided to award The Force Awakens a Best Picture nomination in the end.
Although Star Wars did not receive a Golden Globe nomination, that was due to the franchise's extreme secrecy. They chose not to have any advanced screenings for critics, which could definitely hurt Star Wars in the Oscars race. Reviews of the film, though, are overwhelmingly positive, many of them focused on the fact that The Force Awakens has redeemed Star Wars once again after the much-panned prequels.
Richard Roeper gave it the highest praise with four out for stars and called it "a return to greatness" and "a beautiful, thrilling, joyous, surprising and heart-thumping adventure." Getting nominated for an Academy Award could be both a sign of the quality of the film, and could also be a symbolic inclusion, then, based on the fact that critics were revived by the way The Force Awakens captured the spirit of George Lucas' original, beloved trilogy.
In the past, it might have seemed that a huge blockbuster could never contend for an Oscar, but times have changed, baby. The Academy expanded the category from five to 10 nominees in 2009 for the 82nd Annual Academy Awards, hearkening back to old Hollywood when they nominated eight to 12 films. That's given bigger-budget movies the chance to compete — like last year, with the nomination of American Sniper. Other notable big-budget films that have been nominated? Avatar and the Lord Of The Rings trilogy. Both of those films — sci-fi and fantasy — bode well for Star Wars getting a nomination.
So, will the Force be with J.J. Abrams and the hundreds of others who have returned to the Star Wars universe when it comes to Oscar nominations? Even though the film didn't get that Golden Globe nod and also missed on SAG Awards (which also makes technical sense: the Screen Actors Guild does not have a Best Picture Category; rather, they have Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture), they could still strike back.
Star Wars has critics brimming with praise, and, even though much of it is fueled by nostalgia, why shouldn't that be a good reason for the film to get an Oscar nomination? It's been added to several "Best Movies Of 2015" lists, including Peter Travers' from Rolling Stone. And, of course, there are the more likely categories where the film will score, even if it's snubbed for Best Picture. J.J. Abrams could get a Best Director nod, and, naturally, the special effects should help Star Wars sweep for cinematography, score, sound editing, special effects... there's so much potential there.
And perhaps the biggest point in the film's corner: the Critics Choice' awards are a pretty accurate predictor of the Oscar nominations and wins. So we'll just have to see how the film will fare when the Oscar nominations are announced on January 14. Interestingly enough, J.J. Abrams was part of crew of announcers for the 2015 ceremony. That's a good omen in itself.
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