You’d be forgiven for not having a good feeling about my prediction that “Gravity” will win the Oscar for Best Picture. No movie set in space has ever won; the film’s buzz may be peaking too early; it’s a 90-minute action movie where there are weightier (pardon the pun) contenders. However, here are the five reasons why “Gravity” is, at the moment, perfectly positioned to take the top Oscar. What could possibly go wrong?
1. It’s set a bar out of this world
Its score at Metacritic is 96. To put that in perspective, only four new releases have scored higher since 2003. Its box office started strong and is currently projected to make at least $200 million. Now, of course, films with high Metacritic scores usually lose, such as “The Social Network” and “Zero Dark Thirty,” which both posted 95. As do mega-grossing films such as “Avatar” ($750 million). However, the last time a contender had the highest Metacritic score and highest box office among nominated films was “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King,” which went on to tie the record for most victories (11). If “Gravity” can defend its 96 and remain on top of the box office, it’s going to be hard for rivals to overtake it.
2. The academy has new depth perception
After blockbusting front-runner “Avatar” was taken down by small “The Hurt Locker,” one could be forgiven for believing a conservative academy just wasn’t ready to embrace 3D cinema. However last year, Ang Lee was able to score a shocking upset over legend Stephen Spielberg with his 3D “Life of Pi.” This shows us that, for the right movie, the academy is willing to embrace a 3D film in a top category – even without pressure from pre-cursor awards. This paves the way for “Gravity” to go one small step further.
3. This film is going to leave little empty space
It’s going to pick up plenty of nominations. It already looks very hard to beat for the win in three categories and looks competitive in other tech races. Sandra Bullock will likely get a lead actress nod and the film looks positioned to take roughly 9 nominations.
4. This film has stars
Sandra Bullock and George Clooney’s name recognition, industry cred and performances also make this more than just a technical marvel and they will help to bolster its support among the acting branch. Then you have a widely respected and buzzed director in Alfonso Cuaron. who has the ability to take out that bellwether category.
5. It’s not your regular space junk
What I find the most compelling reason: This movie seems special. You walk out of the cinema feeling like you have had an experience. It’s an action space movie, but it feels artistic and groundbreaking. There’s also a novelty to it, and I don’t mean that in a demeaning way. A couple of years ago people walked out of “The Artist” feeling like they had witnessed something you don’t really see these days at the movies, which led to a sentiment of ‘wouldn’t it be cool for a film like this to win Best Picture?’ I can’t help but feel voters may have the same response when walking out of “Gravity,” and wouldn’t that be one hell of a win!