When “Big Hero 6” won the Oscar for Best Animated Feature over frontrunner “How to Train Your Dragon 2,” it was considered a huge upset. But, really, we should have seen this coming. After all, the Oscars hate sequels.
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Indeed, since the Best Animated Feature was created in 2001, only one sequel has claimed victory: “Toy Story 3” (2010). But that was also a Best Picture nominee with a whopping five nominations, so it was clearly beloved by the entire Academy. In other words, “Toy Story 3” was a rare exception to the sequel rule.
The Oscars don’t just hate animated sequels, they also can’t stand rewarding sequels as Best Picture, either. In fact, out of the 87 Best Picture champs, only two have been sequels: “The Godfather Part II” (1974) and “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” (2003).
Hmm, what if we were to expand the definition of “sequel” to also include film remakes and adaptations? Perhaps we’d get more results that way?
Not really. Only one film remake has ever won Best Picture: “The Departed” (2006). And only a single movie adapted from a TV production has claimed victory: “Marty” (1955).
What this all really means is that the Oscars simply love original productions. The more original a film is, the better chance it has of winning Best Picture. Look no further than this year’s Oscars for proof.
Of the two major Best Picture frontrunners, “Boyhood” and “Birdman,” the former filmed over 12 years and essentially felt like a dozen mini-sequels all strung together. Compare that to “Birdman,” one of the more unique films to ever grace the screen both from a writing and directorial perspective. “Birdman” won.
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