‘Arrival’ has achieved a rare feat for a science fiction movie, an Academy Award nomination for Best Picture. Not only that, but Denis Villeneuve’s sleeper hit actually tied ‘Moonlight’ for the second most noms out of all the movies with eight apiece. ‘Arrival’ also scored in the categories for:
- Director – Villeneuve
- Writing (Adapted Screenplay) – Eric Heisserer
- Cinematography – Bradford Young
- Sound Editing – Sylvain Bellemare
- Sound Mixing – Bernard Gariépy Strobl and Claude La Haye
- Production Design – Patrice Vermette (Production Design); Paul Hotte (Set Decoration)
- Film Editing – Joe Walker
Of course genre films, even low-brow ones, tend to dominate the technical categories, but it’s pretty uncommon for them to be nominated in the “big” categories, like Best Picture, adapted/original screenplay and actor/actress. In recent years, the science fiction movies that have score recognition for Best Picture include ‘District 9,’ ‘Avatar,’ ‘Inception,’ ‘Her,’ ‘Gravity,‘ ‘The Martian,‘ ‘The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers,’ ‘The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King’ and ‘Mad Max: Fury Road.’ In more classic times, genre films almost never received recognition. In the entire seventies and eighties, the only three to receive the honor were ‘The Exorcist’, ‘Star Wars: A New Hope’ and ‘E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial’. And before that… NONE.
Unfortunately, ‘Arrival’ is repping for genre films in the major categories, with the exception of Writing (Original Screenplay) for ‘The Lobster’.
But other science fiction/fantasy movies that received recognition in the more technical awards this year are:
- Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: Costume Design – Colleen Atwood; Production Design – Stuart Craig (Production Design), Anna Pinnock (Set Decoration)
- Star Trek Beyond: Makeup and Hairstyling – Joel Harlow and Richard Alonzo
- Suicide Squad: Makeup and Hairstyling – Alessandro Bertolazzi, Giorgio Gregorini and Christopher Nelson
- Passengers: Music/Original Score – Thomas Newman; Production Design – Guy Hendrix Dyas (Production Design), Gene Serdena (Set Decoration)
- Rogue One: A Star Wars Story: Sound Mixing – David Parker, Christopher Scarabosio and Stuart Wilson; Visual Effects – John Knoll, Mohen Leo, Hal Hickel and Neil Corbould
- Doctor Strange: Visual Effects – Stephane Ceretti, Richard Bluff, Vincent Cirelli and Paul Corbould
Though it’s actually science fact, ‘Hidden Figures’ was nominated for Best Picture, Best Supporting Actress for Octavia Spencer and Writing (Adapted Screenplay) – Allison Schroeder and Theodore Melfi.
Also, slightly adjacent, ‘Kubo and the Two Strings’, ‘Moana’ and ‘Zootopia’ are up for Best Animated Feature Film. ‘Moana’ was also recognized for ‘Music/Original Song’ for ‘How Far I’ll Go’ with Music and Lyric by Lin-Manuel Miranda, up against Justin Timberlake, Max Martin and Karl Johan Schuster’s ‘Can’t Stop The Feeling’ from ‘Trolls’. ‘Kubo and the Two Strings’ was nominated for Best Visual Effects for Steve Emerson, Oliver Jones, Brian McLean and Brad Schiff, against ‘The Jungle Book’ for Robert Legato, Adam Valdez, Andrew R. Jones and Dan Lemmon.
It’s not a surprise that any of these received nominations, but it is fairly shocking that in a year that saw the releases of ‘Deadpool’, ‘Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice’, ‘Captain America: Civil War’ and ‘X-Men: Apocalypse’, NONE of those got any recognition at all, but ‘SUICIDE SQUAD’ DID! ‘Suicide Squad’ wasn’t hated, but it was not as well-received as some of these others!
That’s right, Warner Brothers can now market ‘Suicide Squad’ as Academy Award Nominee ‘Suicide Squad’!
Genre films still have a ways to go, but it seems like they are being excepted by the “elites” more and more.