“Avatar” took the world by storm in 2009, earning billions of dollars worldwide and securing nine Oscar nominations. Even though it won three trophies — Cinematography, Art Direction and Visual Effects — “Avatar” failed to take home the top prizes of Best Picture or Best Director (James Cameron), losing to “The Hurt Locker” and its helmer Kathryn Bigelow.
Now, one film from 2013’s roster of Oscar contenders looks to be following a similar trajectory, for good and for bad.
“Gravity” has already amassed $250 million in domestic box office, plus another $400 million in foreign box office. And according to Gold Derby’s polling of Experts, Editors and Users, the Alfonso Cuaron-directed space thriller is expected to receive a whopping 10 Oscar nominations, one more than “Avatar’s” haul. While “Avatar” didn’t net any acting nominations, “Gravity’s” Sandra Bullock is a sure bet to be nominated for Best Actress. And she could even pull off a win.
Could “Gravity” fail to take home the trophies for Best Picture and Best Director, just a “Avatar” did four years ago?
“12 Years a Slave” sits in the top spot for Best Picture with 4/1 odds, while “Gravity” (5/1 odds) must make do with second place. The top category looks to be a rerun of 2009, when the high-grossing sci-fi film (“Avatar”) lost Best Picture to the smaller indie movie about a real-life event (“The Hurt Locker”).
But the race for Best Director could be a bit more surprising. (Vote for Best Director below in our easy drag-and-drop menu).
Unlike 2009 when Bigelow earned her directing Oscar to go along with her film’s Best Picture prize, this year we could very well see a Picture/Director split; that has happened 22 times in the Oscars’ 85 years. We have Cuaron at #1 with 19/10 odds, while “12 Years a Slave’s” helmer Steve McQueen (13/5) comes in second place.
Another eerie similarity between 2009’s “Avatar” and 2013’s “Gravity” comes in the Best Original Screenplay category. “Avatar” failed to secure a nomination for its screenplay, and the same fate could befall “Gravity” this year. In fact, Gold Derby’s predictions have “Gravity’s” original script in sixth place, just missing the cut for a nomination.
Of the three Oscars “Avatar” won, “Gravity” is a lock to also win Best Cinematography and Best Visual Effects according to Gold Derby’s polling. “Avatar’s” third trophy was for Art Direction, a category that has since been renamed Best Production Design, and “Gravity” is tracking in third place there behind “The Great Gatsby” and “12 Years a Slave.”
Will “Gravity” follow in “Avatar’s” Oscar footsteps with lots of nominations but no wins for Best Picture or Best Director? Sound off in the comments section below!