Sunday, January 3, 2016

Oscar Update: Does 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' change the Best Picture race?

It has been a couple of weeks now since Star Wars: The Force Awakens debuted in theaters all across the country, and yet, it has still managed to dominate the conversation in the film world. The film stands at $740.2 million in the US (it's set to beat Avatar's record of $760.5 million by Tuesday) and at $1.5 billion worldwide, where it will soon be in a dogfight with James Cameron for the higher spots on the all time charts. In addition to that, fans have been dissecting every bit of info on the film and debating its merits, as well as contemplating the future of the franchise. With all of this talk surrounding Star Wars, it's been easy to forget that the Oscar nominations are revealed in less than two weeks. But are those two things mutually exclusive? Does Star Wars: The Force Awakens actually have a chance to take the Best Picture race by storm?

There are very few sure things in the Best Picture race right now. Yes, Spotlight is going to get a Best Picture nomination. Carol, The Martian, The Big Short, The Revenant, Mad Max: Fury Road and Room are highly probable as well, but not necessarily locks at this point. But assuming that all of those films get nominations, that leaves three possible slots that could be filled by a wide variety of films. John Crowley's eloquent romantic drama Brooklyn is a strong possibility. So is Steven Spielberg's Academy beloved spy flick Bridge of Spies. Pixar's instant classic Inside Out has a good chance as well, and films like Straight Outta Compton, Steve Jobs, Joy and The Hateful Eight are hanging around as well. Any of those films could fill the final slots, or in a change of events, the Academy could end up sticking with 7, 8 or 9 films like they have in past years. But out of all of this insanity, the biggest wild card is Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

On the Star Wars front, it's assured to get a few nominations- Best Original Score, Best Sound Mixing and Editing and Best Visual Effects. Everything beyond that boils down to how much the Academy likes this film. There's a chance that Harrison Ford gets a nomination for Supporting Actor and a slim possibility that J.J. Abrams ends up with a Best Director nod, but there needs to be a lot of support for that. In the Best Picture race, I think it's a likelihood that Star Wars gets in. Avatar and Titanic were both populist picks that made a lot of money and got the Best Picture nomination, so why not Star Wars too? There's a lot of nostalgia in the Academy for the film series and with how strongly The Force Awakens has gripped the world over the last month, it might just slip in simply because the voters remember it.

Not to mention the fact that the film has already rounded up some awards. It was one of the American Film Institute's Top Ten films of the year and in addition to that, the Critics Choice awards added it to the Best Picture race as an eleventh nominee. The love for this film is there in Hollywood. And with how massive the film is at the box office (believe it or not, but there's a very good chance that this one ends up with $1 billion in the US alone), it may be too much of a phenomenon for the Academy to ignore. So if you ask me now, yes, I do believe that The Force Awakens will get a Best Picture nominee. Here are my current Best Picture charts.

1. Spotlight
2. The Big Short
3. The Revenant
4. Mad Max: Fury Road
5. Carol
6. The Martian
7. Room
8. Star Wars: The Force Awakens
9. Brooklyn
10. Inside Out

Bubble Line

11. Bridge of Spies
12. Straight Outta Compton
13. Joy
14. Trumbo
15. Steve Jobs

I'll be back with more Oscar talk in a little bit once we get closer to January 14, the day that the Oscar nominations are revealed in Hollywood.

Image Credits: Variety, Joblo

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