By Ryan Porter
Over the last forty years there have been nine Star Wars movies that have inexplicably combined for one, ONE! Best Picture nomination from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Truly a crime of galactic proportions.
Normally, I embrace and encourage objectivity but if you want to be objective about Oscar winners versus Star Wars movies – I would strongly encourage you to start looking somewhere else! In this post, we’ll be comparing the nine theatrical Star Wars movies (yep, The Clone Wars is getting some well-deserved acknowledgment!) to that year’s winners for Best Picture at the Academy Awards!
1977 – Star Wars Vs Annie Hall
Is it even fair to compare a movie that transformed not only its genre, but the entire industry, to a romantic comedy? Even if it is a good one? No. Obviously not.
And comparing George to Woody isn’t fair either. George is a modern day Walt Disney. Remarkable for not only what he creates, but how he creates it. George is an unparalleled visionary and a philanthropist without equal. Woody Allen is now best known for, well, things I’m not getting into in this post.
Obviously Star Wars, and George Lucas, should’ve won the Oscar in 1978 and ALL the Oscars since then.
1980 – Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back Vs Ordinary People
One of these movies is a brilliantly directed work of art that examines the relationships of friends and family in the face of terrible tragedy.
The other movie I’ve never heard of.
1983 – Star Wars: Return of the Jedi Vs Terms of Endearment
Terms of Endearment certainly has a lot going for it as a movie and as an emotional experience. But it doesn’t have an epic climax to an unforgettable saga or a desert with a mouth. It doesn’t have Bib Fortuna. And inexplicably Terms of Endearment doesn’t feature a single Ewok.
BONUS ROUND! – 1997’s Special Edition Trilogy Vs Titanic
I actually enjoy Titanic quite a bit. I know most people don’t but I’m used to dealing with that mentality. I deal with it with the Prequels and I deal with it with the Special Editions. My only problem with the Special Editions, and all the changes since, is that they don’t go far enough. For starters, I want Battle Droids on the Jawa’s Sandcrawler. Changes should be ever-present in the Star Wars films to create a better continuity that “binds the galaxy together.” Even Titanic went back and made changes after Neil deGrasse Tyson called out the placement of the stars in our own galaxy!
1999 – Star Wars: The Phantom Menace Vs American Beauty
Confession: I was once a pretentious film students that tried real hard to like films that pretentious film students should like. Nothing captures that lapse in judgment like my interest in American Beauty. Ugh, the shame.
Anyway, like the esteemed hosts of Blast Points, I too have much love for The Phantom Menace. Padme and Anakin isn’t at all creepy compared against Kevin Spacey’s motives. And whatever narrative problems might exist in Episode 1 are a far cry from a movie narrated by a dead guy. (Spoilers!) If Kevin Spacey would’ve spent the whole movie training for the big race at Boonta Eve, instead of trying to sleep with his daughter’s best friend, I’d still be able to have some respect for American Beauty.
2002 – Star Wars: Attack of the Clones Vs Chicago
I saw Chicago on a date with a really cute girl.
I saw Attack of the Clone four times by myself.
Until I wrote those sentences I hadn’t thought about Chicago, or the cute girl, at all. But I’ve spent an awful lot of time thinking about Attack of the Clones and quoting one of my favorite lines in the entire saga as much as possible: “She can’t do that! Shoot her – or something!”
2005 – Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith Vs Crash
Hollywood may not care, obviously, but Revenge of the Sith delivered onto Star Wars fans everything they’d been waiting for. The ultimate and climactic showdown between Anakin and Obi-Wan, the birth of Luke and Leia and of course, the return of Qui-Gon. Well, unfortunately not that last one. But that’s just more evidence that these films CONSTANTLY need to be given the Special Edition treatment.
No one was happy to see Crash win in 2005, much less look back on it over a decade later and have any delusions that the Academy made the right decision.
2008 – Star Wars: The Clone Wars Vs Slumdog Millionaire
Slumdog Millionaire is a unique take on the rag-to-riches format. And that pretty much sums up the entirety of The Clone Wars. What began humbly in the feature film (I found few other Star Wars fans that seemed to enjoy it as much as I did) grew into a force to be reckoned with within Star Wars canon and with fans and even newcomers and casual viewers alike. An impressive, and seemingly unbelievable, ascent to the top of the mountain. Insert Star Wars/Slumdog Millionaire pun here.
2015 – Star Wars: The Force Awakens Vs Spotlight
So Spotlight wins over legit genre contenders Mad Max Fury Road and The Martian, with The Force Awakens not even getting a nomination.
Sometimes I wonder why I still live on this planet.
I can only assume that a majority of Academy members were too busy developing their own Snoke Theories to remember to send in their ballots with The Force Awakens circled, highlighted and underlined. Where’s Rey? Not at the Oscars apparently!
2016 – Rogue One: A Star Wars Story Vs ???
As of the time of writing, La La Land hasn’t officially won best picture but since it’s a musical about Hollywood, and Hollywood LOVES movies about Hollywood, so it’s obviously going to win.
Rogue One was legitimately the best shot at a nomination that Star Wars has had since the snubbing began in 1980. Rogue One is a war movie full of loss, self-sacrifice and serving the greater good in the face of opposition. Usually these are all things that the Academy loves to throw golden trophies at but sadly, if predictably, Rogue One couldn’t even garner a nomination.
Time to put together a rag-tag group to steal the results and replace them with ten Best Picture nominations, all for Rogue One.
BONUS ROUND Part 2! – 2017 Star Wars: The Last Jedi
If there’s anything the Academy enjoys more than giving Oscars to movies about Hollywood, it’s giving Oscars to actors that have passed away. Carrie Fisher was beloved by not only Star Wars fans, but by Hollywood and those that worked in the industry.
We don’t yet know what kind of a roll General Leia (the Huttslayer) will have in The Last Jedi, but if there’s a scene in which she cries, causes another character to cry, or causes the audience to cry (as she almost certainly will), expect the Academy to honor the life and legacy of Carrie Fisher with a nomination for Best Supporting Actress.