Memo to the Academy: It’s time to honor ‘Harry Potter’ at the Oscars

Unlike the fantasy franchise “The Lord of the Rings,” the “Harry Potter” series has been spurned by the Academy Awards. While the “LOTR” trilogy won 17 of its 30 Oscar bids, including going 11 for 11 for the final film, the first seven “Harry Potter” pictures have managed just nine craft nominations and lost all of those races. 

However, the final installment — “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2” — rates an impressive 87 (three points higher than “The Descendants” and “Hugo”) with MetaCritic. “What an exhilarating gift to watch Harry and company go out in a blaze of glory and amazing race,” raved Peter Travers (Rolling Stone) while Lisa Schwartzbaum (Entertainment Weekly) deemed it, “the thrilling conclusion to a phenomenal cinematic story 10 years in the telling … is proof that authentic movie excitement is its own form of magic.”

The film has taken in $1.3 billion to rank third — behind “Avatar” at $2.7 billion and “Titanic” with $1.8 billion — of top-grossing films. In total, the eight films in the franchise have raked in a record $7.7 billion worldwide. 

Among our experts, Matt Atchity (Rotten Tomatoes), Keith Simanton (IMDB) and Kevin Polowy (Next Movie) include “Part 2” on their predictions for Best Picture. (See Best Picture breakdown and Experts’ rankings)

“Part 2” could have plenty of support from various Academy branches. It is a strong contender for Original Score (four-time nominee Alexandre Desplat), Art Direction (3-time Oscar winners and nine-time nominees – including three bids for the “Potter” franchise – Stuart Craig and Stephenie McMillan), as well as Costume Design, Makeup, Sound Mixing, Sound Editing and Visual Effects.

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Among the cast, Alan Rickman (as Severus Snape) stands the best chance of breaking the drought for “Potter” performers. Thelma Adams, Atchity and Simanton believe he will be nominated. Currently, he has 16/1 odds in a very wide-open Supporting Actor category.

“Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” (2001) was nominated for Art Direction, Costume Design and Original Score; “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban” (2004) was nominated for Original Score and Visual Effects; “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire” (2005) was nominated for Art Direction; “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” (2009) was nominated for Cinematography; and Part 1 of the final installment was nominated for Art Direction and Visual Effects. 

Below is ‘For Your Consideration’ video released by Warner Bros. as part of its campaign for “Part 2”.

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