The 2016 Oscars Snub 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' For Best Picture, Continuing A Disappointing Trend
Though Star Wars: The Force Awakens is already one of the all-time top grossing films at the box office, that doesn't mean it's destined for Oscars gold. While the J. J. Abrams film was honored with technical award nominations for the 2016 Academy Awards, Star Wars: The Force Awakens was snubbed by the Oscars in the Best Picture category. Even with the Academy Awards having up to 10 films that could be nominated for Best Picture, the announcement on Jan. 14 proved the force was not strong enough yet to awaken the Oscar voters.
The Force Awakens didn't get completely snubbed by the Oscars since it was nominated for five technical categories: Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, Visual Effects, Film Editing, and Original Score for John Williams. While you would think that it isn't surprising that the seventh installment of the Star Wars franchise didn't get nominated for Best Picture, Best Director, or any acting or writing categories, the first Star Wars film ever did have major Oscar success. Back in 1978, Star Wars: A New Hope earned 11 nominations, including Best Picture, Best Director for George Lucas, Best Supporting Actor for Alec Guinness as Obi-Wan Kenobi, and Best Original Screenplay. Of course, A New Hope didn't win any of those awards, but the film did take home the other seven technical awards, including visual effects and costume design, that it was nominated for.
By 1981, the Oscar tide has turned on the Star Wars franchise and Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back (arguably the greatest film in the entire Star Wars canon) only received four nominations, winning two — all for technical achievements. A similar fate was met in 1984 with Return of the Jedi earning five technical noms and only one win for the Special Achievement Award in Visual Effects. Not to sound as if I'm complaining since Star Wars was still being nominated for — and winning — Oscars back in the 1980s. Because once Lucas revealed the prequels in the late '90s and early 2000s, no more Academy Awards would be going to a galaxy far, far away.
Episodes I, II, and III all still received Oscar nominations for technical achievements, but they never won any of them. The Phantom Menace earned three nominations in 2000, while Attack of the Clones in 2003 and Revenge of the Sith in 2006 earned only one nomination each. As the beginning film of this amazing space odyssey, it's certainly understandable why A New Hope was the only Star Wars film to really take the Academy Awards by storm(troopers).
But Abrams' version has breathed new, albeit nostalgic, life into the series with particularly tremendous performances delivered by Adam Driver and Daisy Ridley. Considering that The Force Awakens holds the second place ranking of all Star Wars films on Metacritic, there could be a chance that like A New Hope before it, the first series in the newest trilogy will win the most number of Oscars in over 30 years. Unfortunately, though, Star Wars will continue its tradition of not earning Best Picture statues.