Over the years, the sci-fi genre has been somewhat short-changed at the Oscars. Several now-classic films being snubbed in favour of more traditional awards fare. “2001: A Space Odyssey” wasn’t even nominated for Best Picture (though Stanley Kubrick did contend for Best Director) and it’s only Oscar win was for Best Effects. “Blade Runner” was dismissed almost entirely by the academy, earning only two nominations: Best Art Direction and Best Visual Effects.
It’s got a tad better in recent years, with films like “Avatar,” “District 9,” “Inception” and “Her” all earning Best Picture bids. Some may argue “Gravity” and “The Martian” are two further examples, but they aren’t strictly speaking sci-fis, not in the traditional sense – they’re just set in space.
However, considering how many good sci-fis are churned out each year, the genre is still underrepresented at the Academy Awards. “A.I. Artificial Intelligence” should have easily earned a Best Actor nomination for Haley Joel Osmont (a brilliant performance) but didn’t get a sniff, while Tilda Swinton should have won for “Snowpiercer.” “Edge of Tomorrow,” too, (which really should’ve been called ‘All You Need is Kill,’ like the original novel and subsequent manga) was a great sci-fi flick which critics and audiences alike loved and should’ve been rewarded as a result.
This year, Denis Villeneuve’s “Arrival” is poised to be a major Oscar player. The film focuses on a linguist (Amy Adams) and her attempts to decipher the language and reasoning of aliens who have come to Earth. It has an approval rating of 94% on Rotten Tomatoes and box office totaling more than $160 million and counting.
And it has done well with the key precursors including 9 BAFTA nominations including Picture, Director, Actress (Adams) and Adapted Screenplay (Eric Heisserer, who adapted Ted Chiang‘s 1998 short story “Story of Your Life”) as well as bids at all five major guild awards: ACE Eddies, DGA, PGA, WGA and SAG. It did lose some ground at the Globes, where it only garnered two nominations (Best Drama Actress and Best Score). That’s a bit of a disappointment, considering the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. is usually more open to nominating blockbusters or less-traditional awards films.
Currently, “Arrival” sits in fifth on our Best Picture odds chart, fourth for Best Director and Best Actress chart and third for Best Adapted Screenplay. In all, we are predicting it will get 10 Oscar nominations – Picture, Director, Actress, Adapted Screenplay, Cinematography, Editing, Production Design, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing and Visual Effects. Currently, it’s only predicted to win one of those (Adapted Screenplay) but much can change in the coming weeks. Stay tuned.
Be sure to make your Oscar predictions. Weigh in now with your picks so that Hollywood insiders can see how their films are faring in our Oscar odds. You can keep changing your predictions right up until just before nominations are announced on January 24 at 5:00 am PT/8:00 am ET. Be sure to read our contest rules. And join in the fierce debate over the Oscars taking place right now with Hollywood insiders in our forums.