Sifting the Academy Awards Nominees

Alan Arkin in Argo.

The Oscar nominees were announced by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences today, January 10. An sf/fandom news blog doesn’t really need any special justification to report a pop culture headline story of that type. Still, I do like to take up the challenge of tailoring the story to fit within the artificial boundaries of the field just the same.

So looking over the list of nominees I ask myself: How many of these pictures would fans feel are eligible for a Best Dramatic Presentation Hugo (long or short)?

Having read James Bacon’s review of the graphic adaptation of Tarantino’s script, it probably shouldn’t come as a surprise if fans decided the movie Django Unchained belongs on the ballot, although I haven’t seen anyone recommend that just yet.

Argo, despite being more closely “based on a true story” than most Hollywood films ever get, takes its title from a fake movie production that’s central to the plot – ultimately derived from the individual efforts of Roger Zelazny and Jack Kirby – and brought to life onscreen in costume, dialog and art. Hugo voters have a long track record of nominating whatever they identify with and approve.

But somewhat paradoxically, I doubt that The Master’s connection with L. Ron Hubbard, whose life is believed to have informed the story, will be a sufficiently powerful recommendation for many Hugo voters to write it on their ballots. I haven’t seen it, but knowing now that it boasts three Oscar-nominated performances — Joaquin Phoenix (Best Actor), Philip Seymour Hoffman (Best Supporting Actor), Amy Adams (Best Supporting Actress) – the movie obviously has its fans.

Here’s what I came up with as Your SF/Fantasy Oscar Nominees:

Argo: Alan Arkin (Best Supporting Actor); also Best Picture, Film Editing, Music (Original Score), Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, Writing (Adapted Screenplay).

Brave: Animated Feature Film

Django Unchained: Christoph Waltz (Best Supporting Actor); also, Best Picture, Cinematography, Sound Editing, Writing (Original Screenplay)

Frankenweenie: Animated Feature Film

Marvel’s The Avengers: Visual Effects

Mirror, Mirror: Costume Design

ParaNorman: Animated Feature Film

Prometheus: Visual Effects

Snow White and the Huntsman: Costume Design, Visual Effects

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey: Makeup and Hairstyling, Production Design, Visual Effects

The Pirates! Band of Misfits: Animated Feature Film

Wreck-It Ralph: Animated Feature Film

I’ve only begged off analyzing the Short Film (Animated) category nominees — “Adam and Dog” Minkyu Lee; “Fresh Guacamole” PES; “Head over Heels” Timothy Reckart and Fodhla Cronin O’Reilly; “Maggie Simpson in “The Longest Daycare”” David Silverman; and “Paperman” John Kahrs – because I have seen most of them and they’re all some kind of fantasy, and it sounds silly to argue that something isn’t quite the right flavor of fantasy for the Hugo ballot. That decision is best left to the wisdom of crowds.

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11 thoughts on “Sifting the Academy Awards Nominees

  1. “The Master” I suspect had far too limited of a release for enough Hugo voters to see, tho the dvd is due out next month. It sort of came and went quickly here in Baltimore.

    OF course, if it were to get nominated perhaps a Certain Organization might want to purchase a vast number of Supporting Memberships to make sure it doesn’t win … OTOH, that same Certain Organization certainly failed to get Battlefield Earth on the Hugo ballot.

  2. I don’t think Hubbard’s novel got anything near a nomination. The days where THE BUTTERFLY KID got a Hugo listing for about half a dozen nominations are long gne. And with convention costs, you’d need to be extremely well off to be able to stuff a ballot. Not going to happen.

    The Academy has an inclination to vote for Biopics, not fictional biographies.THE PIRATES! film was not a box office winner, and as aimation was not a very good effort. in terms of script.

    The AVENGERS lacks an IQ in terms of story as well.

  3. Mike: Hasn’t Alan Arkin published sf in FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION and elsewhere? He definitely qualifies for SFFWA.

  4. “I don’t think Hubbard’s novel got anything near a nomination.”

    I believe 1983 was before WSFS decided that the voting breakdown would be made public. OTOH, a 1000 Scientologists buying supporting memberships would have been nice …

  5. The voting statistics were required to be released by 1980, though it began after the first passage of the rules change in 1978. (George Flynn and I authored the change.)

  6. Where did you see the animated short films? (And by “where” I don’t mean just geographical location.) Are there festivals going around, or was it at a con? I tend to miss such things.

  7. @DB: Two or three of them were shown in tandem with feature films — like The Simpsons cartoon ran with Ice Age 4. The Fresh Guacamole short is available online.

  8. Boy, does considering ARGO somehow science fiction or fantasy strike me as a stretch. I’d be amused to read someone’s argument justifying it.

    But, yes, of course Hugo voters aren’t fussy; but even APOLLO 13 had more of a rationale.

  9. Gary:

    The actual definition of Dramatic Presentation is: “Any theatrical feature or other
    production,… in any medium of dramatized science fiction, fantasy or related subjects….” [Emphasis mine] That’s why works that aren’t directly SF/F are eligible if they are sufficiently related to SF/F to catch the voters’ interest.

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