Having watched the Oscars for so many years, you get a sense that scifi or science fiction movies only do well in technical categories. This year, Star Wars The Force Awakens has been nominated for score, film editing, sound editing, sound mixing and visual effects. No one should ever be surprised that it didn’t get nominated for Best Picture. Star Wars is not that type of movie that gets considered. Granted, the first one, meaning Episode 4 or A New Hope or just plain Star Wars was considered for Best Picture in 1978. Even on the off chance that in the future other Star Wars movie would be consider for Best Film is one thing but to actually win is another.
In 1981, there was a little film called Raiders of the Lost Ark that was an amazing movie and went on to be nominated for Best Picture in 1982. As I waited for the results, I had high expectations that Raiders would win because it was THE movie of the year according to this 15 year old at the time. Well, Raiders lost to some bullshit English movie called Chariots of Fire. WTF!?!?! That’s when I realize that the Oscars are all about snooty art films that hardly anyone sees. So yeah, the “nomination” for the movies I liked were meaningless to me by that point.
However, in 2001, it took The Lord of the Ring: The Fellowship of the Ring to be considered for Best Picture which led the way for other films. There was Two Towers 2002, Return of the King in 2003 which one for Best Picture. In 2009, we get Avatar and District 9 and 2013, Gravity. This year we have The Martian. I think the popularity of these films were hard to ignore and were included in the Best Picture category to draw younger and larger viewership. So, don’t you think that Star Wars The Force Awaken should have been included? It is after all going to be the biggest money making movie of all time and two, it’s Star Wars. Sadly, no.
My criteria for Best Picture would be more aligned with the more serious science fiction themed movies like Gravity, Interstellar and The Martian. Those are more serious movies the Oscars would consider as worthy of a nomination. Star Wars The Force Awakens is not on the same level despite it being more popular than those movies combined. It was a fun and enjoyable movie but its not the same as being the Best Picture in Oscar terms. And with that, this 48 year old is okay with that and so should you.