‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ trailer: Does Episode VII look like an Oscar winner?

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away … the original “Star Wars” (1977) debuted to tremendous fan and critical support and wound up starting a multi-generational six-film franchise that amassed a total of seven Oscar wins from 22 nominations (as well as three special achievement awards). That Oscar tally will likely grow with Disney’s Dec. 18 release of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.” A new trailer for this seventh in the series debuted during “Monday Night Football” on ESPN (watch below). In a case of corporate synergy, that net and Lucasfilm are both owned by Disney.

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In the trailer, which runs 2 minutes and 35 seconds, the action picks up three decades after “Return of the Jedi,” the last of the original trilogy. We get our first glimpse of returning hero Han Solo (Harrison Ford) and new characters Finn (a one-time stormtrooper who defects) and Daisy (a scavenger recruited into the fight). 

Based on the Oscar history of the franchise (as detailed below), we can expect the new flick to be competitive in at least six key categories: Best Visual Effects, Best Sound Editing, Best Sound Mixing, Best Makeup and Hairstyling, Best Score and Best Art Direction.

If this all-but-guaranteed box office smash also wins over critics, it could contend for Best Picture. Likewise, Emmy champ J.J. Abrams (“Lost”) could reap his first bid for directing. And he, along with co-writers four-time Oscar nominee Lawrence Kasdan and Oscar winner Michael Arndt (“Little Miss Sunshine”), could be nominated for Adapted Screenplay.  

Remember, the first film was nominated for Best Picture back in 1977 while creator George Lucas contended for both writing and directing. The big winner that night was “Annie Hall,” which won the top prize as well as two for Woody Allen for his helming and screenplay (co-written with Marshall Brickman). 

Here’s a look at how the first six “Star Wars” films did at the Oscars. It’s worth noting that while all of the films reaped at least one Oscar nomination, the last one to take home a competitive trophy was the second in the series — “The Empire Strikes Back” in 1980.

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“A New Hope” (1977)
Best Art Direction – won
Best Costumes – won
Best Visual Effects – won
Best Film Editing – won
Best Score – won
Best Sound – won
Best Picture – nominated
Best Supporting Actor Alec Guinnessnominated
Best Director George Lucasnominated
Best Original Screenplay – nominated
Special Achievement Award for Sound Effects Editing – won

“The Empire Strikes Back” (1980)
Best Sound – won
Best Art Direction – nominated
Best Score – nominated
Special Achievement Award for Visual Effects – won

“Return of the Jedi” (1983)
Best Art Direction – nominated
Best Score – nominated
Best Sound Mixing – nominated
Best Sound Editing – nominated
Special Achievement Award for Visual Effects – won

“The Phantom Menace” (1999)
Best Visual Effects – nominated
Best Sound Mixing – nominated
Best Sound Editing – nominated

“Attack of the Clones” (2002)
Best Visual Effects – nominated

“Revenge of the Sith” (2005)
Best Makeup – nominated

How do you think “Star Wars” will fare at the Oscars? 

Make your Oscar predictions and you could earn a place of honor on our leaderboard and a starring role in next year’s Top 24 Users (the two dozen folks who do the best predicting this year’s Oscar nominations).

Last year, our Top 24 Users led the way with an accuracy rate of 76.67% when it came to predicting the Oscar nominations. Next up were Gold Derby’s Editors with 74.44%, followed by the Experts with 71.11% and all Users with 68.09%. (Click on any of these groups to see what they got right and wrong last year.)

Which group will be victorious this year? Meet the guy who won our contest to predict the Oscar nominations last year — and learn how he did it and how you can be our next Gold Derby superstar.

As some of our Users turn out to be our smartest prognosticators, it’s important that you give us your predictions. Your picks influence our Users racetrack odds, which also factor into our official combined odds.

Photo Credit: Walt Disney Studio

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