It’s never too early for Oscar buzz — okay, that’s not true. It’s way too early for Oscar buzz since the ink isn’t even dry on this year’s winners, but after working on “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” J.J. Abrams recently told the New York Daily News, “I think we are all going to be very upset if [Mark Hamill] does not win an Oscar, and no one more upset than Mark.”
Hamill originated the role of heroic young Jedi Luke Skywalker in the original “Star Wars” trilogy: “A New Hope” (1977), “The Empire Strikes Back” (1980) and “Return of the Jedi” (1983). He didn’t appear in the prequels from 1999 to 2005, but he made a comeback in “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” (2015): after a long search for the missing Skywalker, he is found at the very end of the film by another young Jedi in the making, Rey (Daisy Ridley).
Hamill has never earned an Oscar nomination. In fact, no “Star Wars” actor has ever been nominated except Alec Guinness, who played Obi-Wan Kenobi in the original 1977 film. But if it seems farfetched to imagine a nomination for Hamill right now, think of how crazy it would have sounded in February 2015 to suggest an Oscar nomination for Sylvester Stallone in “Creed.” Like Hamill, he played a young hero who eventually matured into an experienced mentor, and like the “Star Wars” franchise, “Rocky” began as an Oscar favorite and then drifted off the Oscar radar with successive sequels.
Stallone didn’t win his Oscar bid last year, but the academy has shown a particular fondness for other mentor characters over the years: consider Robin Williams in “Good Will Hunting” (1997), Morgan Freeman in “Million Dollar Baby” (2004) and this year’s winner Mahershala Ali in “Moonlight” (2016), among others. So do you think Hamill will really win an Oscar? Vote in our poll below, and join the discussion in our forums.