“Gravity” is the latest in a string of critically-acclaimed, effects-driven blockbusters to reap Oscar bids across many of the craft categories. It is our absolute odds-on favorite to win Cinematography, Editing, Score, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing and Visual Effects. (Its helmer Alfonso Cuaron is the frontrunner for Best Director, the film figures in our top three for Best Picture and it is in second for Actress and Production Design.)
But is its Oscar fate really so cut-and-dry? Let’s look at what happened with four similar contenders — “Avatar,” “Inception,” “Hugo” and “Life of Pi” — in recent years.
All four were nominated for Best Picture, as is “Gravity,” as well as six of the same craft categories: Cinematography, Production Design (formerly called Art Direction), Score, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing and Visual Effects. “Inception” was the only one snubbed for Director and Editing; “Avatar” was the only one not nominated for screenplay; “Gravity” was likewise left out of contention for its script.
All four won Cinematography and Visual Effects, along with one to three others, varying by film, as detailed below.
MetaCritic score: 83
Box office: $2.78 billion
Oscar wins: 3/9 nominations: Art Direction, Cinematography, Visual Effects
MetaCritic score: 74
Box office: $825 million
Oscars wins: 4/8 nominations: Cinematography, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, Visual Effects
MetaCritic score: 83
Box office: $186 million
Oscar wins: 5/11 nominations – Art Direction, Cinematography, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, Visual Effects
“Life of PI” (2012)
MetaCritic score: 79
Box office: $609 million
Oscar wins: 4/11 nominations – Director, Cinematography, Score, Visual Effects
Why do we expect “Gravity” to take all these below the line races, save Production Design, when none of these did?
Are we not giving voters enough credit to evaluate each category separately, thinking that they will just tick off these technical marvels wherever they appear on their ballots. Remember, just last year, “Life of Pi” was the odds-on favorite to win Sound Editing but lost to both “Skyfall” and “Zero Dark Thirty” in a rare Oscar tie.
However, unlike its predecessors, “Gravity” also reaped an acting bid — for star Sandra Bullock — and scores a jaw-dropping 96 Metacritic. Already, it has grossed an impressive $678 million.
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