It’s rare for a movie franchise to improve after six films over more than 20 years, but “Mission: Impossible – Fallout,” the sixth film in Tom Cruise‘s spy franchise, may have done just that. As of this writing it has scored a whopping 86 on MetaCritic based on 54 reviews. That makes it the 13th highest rated movie of the year so far. It also has a 98% freshness rating on Rotten Tomatoes, which is better than most Oscar nominees for Best Picture. Which begs the question, why hasn’t the “M:I” franchise even been nominated for Oscars yet?
Since they started in 1996 the “Mission: Impossible” movies have been aimed more at pleasing audiences than critics or academy members. But while it would be unusual for an action blockbuster to be the Oscars’ choice for Best Picture, you’d think it would have shown up in categories more hospitable to actioners, like Best Film Editing, Best Sound Mixing, Best Sound Editing, Best Visual Effects, or Best Cinematography.
All of the “M:I” films have been directed by filmmakers who have been in the Oscar conversation during their careers, whether in top categories or just below the line. Brian De Palma helmed the first film, but had previously also won Sean Connery an Oscar for “The Untouchables” (1987) in addition to earning Oscar noms for Sissy Spacek and Piper Laurie in “Carrie” (1977).
John Woo masterminded the second “M:I” in 2000, but before that he made “Face/Off” (1997), which was a nominee for its sound editing. J.J. Abrams followed that by making his feature directorial debut with “M:I III” (2006), after which he made three Oscar nominated movies: “Star Trek” (2009), “Star Trek: Into Darkness” (2013) and “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” (2015), with “Star Trek” prevailing for its makeup.
Best known for his work in animation, Brad Bird took a crack at the live-action franchise in 2011 with “M:I – Ghost Protocol,” before which he won a pair of Oscars for Best Animated Feature, for “The Incredibles” (2004) and “Ratatouille” (2007).
The last two “M:I” movies have been directed by Christopher McQuarrie, who has yet to direct an Oscar contender, but he did win an Oscar for writing one: Best Original Screenplay for “The Usual Suspects” (1995).
There’s a real chance “Fallout” could end the drought. Consider another recent spy franchise. The “Bourne” movies started with “The Bourne Identity” (2002) and “The Bourne Supremacy” (2004), which received no Oscar attention at all. But the third film, “The Bourne Ultimatum” (2007), which had reviews comparable to “Fallout,” won all three of its Oscar nominations: Best Film Editing, Best Sound Editing, and Best Sound Mixing.
Could “Fallout” do that well, or maybe even better? Or is that really an impossible mission? Vote in our poll below to let us know what you think.