“The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies,” the third and final installment in Peter Jackson‘s trilogy, is already a hit: it opened Wednesday with an impressive $24 million first-day haul. The previous two films in the franchise were also blockbusters – “An Unexpected Journey” (2012) made more than $1 billion worldwide, and “The Desolation of Smaug” (2013) earned nearly that much – but even though the films have made money on par with Jackson’s “Lord of the Rings” trilogy, they have not fared nearly as well with critics and awards voters.
The three “Hobbit” films have averaged a respectable 61 on MetaCritic (58 for “Journey,” 66 for “Smaug,” and 59 for “Battle”) and 67% freshness on Rotten Tomatoes (64% for “Journey,” 74% for “Smaug,” and 61% for “Battle”). But that’s nothing compared to the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy, which averaged a whopping 91 on MetaCritic (92 for “Fellowship of the Ring,” 88 for “Two Towers,” and 94 for “Return of the King”) and 94% freshness on Rotten Tomatoes (91% for Fellowship, 96% for “Towers,” and 95% for “Return”).
The results have been just as different at the Oscars. The first two “Lord of the Rings” films earned a combined 19 Oscar nominations and six wins. But the first two “Hobbit” films only earned a combined six nominations, all in below-the-line categories, and it didn’t any of them, even Best Visual Effects, which the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy never lost.
The concluding “Lord of the Rings” film eventually swept the Oscars, winning all 11 of its nominations in 2003, including Best Picture and Best Director for Jackson. But our predictors aren’t nearly as optimistic about the last “Hobbit” installment, which is only expected to be nominated for Best Visual Effects; it recently landed on the shortlist of 10 films still in contention for that award, though it didn’t make the cut when the academy announced its shortlist for Best Makeup and Hairstyling.
So why has “The Hobbit” underperformed on the awards scene? Could it simply be a matter of its age? Peter Jackson has been exploring Middle Earth since 2001, and 13 years later, Oscar voters might simply have moved on the same way Emmy voters usually do after a series has been on for more than a decade.
It may also be a backlash over the trilogy’s length. Though “Lord of the Rings” was nine hours total, it was based on three epic novels, while “The Hobbit” arrived at the same length of films by stretching just one 300-page book.
Why do you think the “Hobbit” films have been largely snubbed? Is there any chance “The Battle of the Five Armies” could match its box office receipts with awards recognition? Our forum posters are discussing the trilogy’s awards shortfall in our forums. Read some of their comments below, then click here to join the discussion.
TomHardys: We can’t exactly say “The Hobbit” is as groundbreaking as “Lord of The Rings” was. Peter Jackson should move on to better projects.
ThemeParks4Life: The main reason for me is they have way too many unnecessary things added. It could have easily been one three-and-a-half-hour movie like “Return of the King” or even two two-hour movies. Another is the over reliance on CGI. Compare the original orc makeup in “LOTR” to the CGI orcs. The “LOTR” ones looked realistic while “The Hobbit’s” come off as fake.
ETPhoneHome: There is simply not enough story for three films. Two films would have been absolutely perfect … Also, we don’t need Legolas, or the romance plotline, and we don’t need the added dwarf songs. Cut all that, I would put this at the same level. In fact, I would challenge someone to re-edit it into this kind of film, and we would have something really interesting.
Ryan Lapierre: Saw it today. It was all over the place. Sloppy, long unnecessary battles, boring and an average ending. It is definitely the worst “Hobbit” yet.
Espeon: While I like “The Hobbit” movies (haven’t seen the third one yet), they are not high art.
Use our drag-and-drop menu below to predict Best Picture, or click here to predict all top Oscar categories, as well as Golden Globes, SAG Awards, and Critics’ Choice. And click here to discuss “The Hobbit” in our forums.