For those who are still griping about the Oscars and what gets nominated for Best Picture just remember that the Academy often snubs genre films.
To date only eight science fiction films received the Best Picture nominations. While fantasy films have received nominations since the 1930s, only one has actually received the Oscar for Best Picture. Everyone knows that was The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, which some feel was a consolation prize to Peter Jackson for the body of his work.
Many of the genre films that have been nominated are still considered groundbreaking classics, especially when compared to what the films that won. Here are the top sci-fi/fantasy films that have been nominated for Best Picture and lost.
10. A Clockwork Orange: Stanley Kubrick’s masterpiece was a dark and disturbing look at violent youth in the near future. Even more disquieting were the rehabilitation methods to cure criminal behavior.
9. The Wizard of Oz: One of the earliest genre films to be nominated for Best Picture is an immortal classic to this day. The enduring legacy of this musical fantasy is due to its well realized characters and plotline.
8. Gravity: Alfonso Cuarón’s tour de force sci-fi/space disaster film was a riveting and tense survival film featuring a terrific performance by Sandra Bullock as a stranded astronaut struggling to return to Earth.
7. It’s a Wonderful Life: Frank Capra’s immortal classic is the must-see film during Christmas and it’s no wonder. George Bailey is given a special look into how his world around him would’ve changed if he hadn’t existed. It’s still powerful to this day and a Christmas staple.
6. Avatar: James Cameron’s sci-fi epic about disabled veteran who gets a new alien body on another world was a stunning visual experience. A meticulously created world and dazzling special effects buttressed the film’s story of a man finding a cause and a second lease on life.
5. E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial: Steven Spielberg’s most personal film about the bond between a young boy and a stranded alien is spiritually stirring. Sadly, by the time the awards were handed out it experienced a backlash and the supposedly more important movie Gandhi won instead.
4. District 9: This dark look at humanity’s racism extending to stranded aliens in South Africa gave audiences food for thought. It also did the impossible by turning ugly, insectoid alien creatures into sympathetic characters to root for when they faced off against human bigots.
3. Raiders of the Lost Ark: The true fantasy element isn’t revealed until the end, but hints of the supernatural are peppered in this Steven Spielberg/George Lucas romp that is better remembered for being an ode to the old matinee serials and one of the best action films of all time.
2. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring: This is considered the best of the Rings trilogy and it blew away many fans’ minds with its sweeping, majestic scenes and the complex realization of Tolkien’s world of Middle-earth. It was a truly epic fantasy come to life.
1. Star Wars: One of the greatest science fiction films of all time with its ambitious scope, philosophical undercurrent and beloved characters lost out to Woody Allen’s Annie Hall. Come on! How narrow minded are Academy members? Apparently as narrow as an exhaust port on the Death Star. This snubbing probably best encapsulates the inane voting done by Academy members throughout the history of the awards.
Academy members have to broaden their horizons and be willing to look past their prejudices. They keep awarding the prizes over and over again to forgettable pieces of drek like A Beautiful Mind and Shakespeare in Love, yet wonder why so many dislike their choices or why the ratings for the shows are going down.
This list left out other genre favorites like Jaws, Inception and Toy Story 3, but these are just my personal picks. If anyone wants to add their own picks, go ahead and comment below.
Lewis T. Grove