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Star Wars didn't win an Oscar? Good.

March 3, 2016

The 88th annual Academy Awards happened this past Sunday and many Star Wars fans faced disappointment as The Force Awakens left with no Oscars to show for the 5 nominations it received. Should the fans respond with hatred and disgust? Should we just look past this obvious oversight of magical filmmaking? Or should we be glad for the success of “Mad Max: Fury Road” and realize that Star Wars is really to blame for The Force Awakens not doing so well? I personally believe that Star Wars (Episode IV) is to blame for the reason why The Force Awakens didn’t win an Oscar, and that it’s a good thing for all of us. Let’s break down the nominations for the Force Awakens and begin to understand why they didn’t win.

 

Best Original Score

John Williams is no stranger when it comes to the Academy Awards. He has won numerous times for his work on films such as Jaws, E.T., Schindler’s List, and of course his 1978 win for Star Wars. Williams’ work is synonymous with greatness and his legacy will be forever tied to our beloved saga of the galaxy far, far away. Yet, this year he lost this award to an even more deserving nominee and one of his inspirations. Legendary Italian composer Ennio Morricone, who is best known for his work with Sergio Leone’ s “Man with No Name” Trilogy, received his first Oscar win for his score of “The Hateful Eight”. Fans of cinematic scores will note that this win for Morricone is long overdue. Morricone’s score has a far more nostalgic resonance with the academy voters than Williams’ who composed his last similar score, Revenge of the Sith, only a decade ago.

 

Best Film Editing, Best Sound Editing, and Best Sound Mixing

The Force Awakens was the 7th installment in the continuing Star Wars saga that was last nominated in any of these categories during the 2000 academy awards. The Phantom Menace was nominated for sound effects and sound mixing, yet failed to win in either category. The losses in 2000 and 2016 are most likely a result of the fact that Star Wars changed moviemaking in 1977. The original Star Wars, A New Hope, won for both sound and editing in the year of its debut. With the release of the Episode IV, filmmaking and pop culture was changed forever. Skywalker Ranch and all the subsidized companies that existed on its grounds were sought out by the major studios. Within the next 20 years, on screen and audible effects produced with THX and Skywalker Sound technology infiltrated and became standard for moviemaking. Competitive productions companies arose and here we are in the modern cinematic world. A world where a 30 year old franchise (Mad Max) can finally be reimagined to its fullest extent. I concede that George Miller’s film is more deserving in these categories than The Force Awakens, but only because Star Wars paved the way. Congrats, Raggedy Man.

ROTOSCOPING LIGHTSABERS @6:40

 

Best Visual Effects

Star Wars has always been known for it’s ground breaking special effects. In fact, in 1978 Star Wars won the Oscar for visual effects due in part to the epic models and futuristic lightsabers that dominated the fans favorite big screen moments. The Original Trilogy utilized an early 1900’s animation strategy called rotoscoping which allows the filmmakers to create visual effects for a less costly frame by frame manipulation of the final product. Lightsabers, as we know them, have roots in the rotoscoping process. Ex Machina which ousted The Force Awakens at the Academy Awards employed rotoscoping for almost all of their visual effects. In a cinematic world where CGI, green screen, and mocap tracking dominate visual effects; Ex Machina used old school methods to create their on screen visuals. Star Wars may have been the first live action film to use it effectively, but in 2016 Ex Machina did it best.

 

In all honesty, I never wanted to blog about why other films deserved to win awards over my beloved Star Wars. Once I saw the evidence; I was overjoyed to know that without Star Wars and it’s impact on filmmaking, none of the wins over The Force Awakens would have been possible. I am a fan of all the films which won over Star Wars this year and have found a new reason to love them in the fact that Star Wars indirectly had a hand in making them better.

 

A full list of the wins and nominations of Star Wars at the Academy Awards is listed below, courtesy of IMDB.com.

*STAR WARS AT THE OSCARS*

 

A New Hope (1978)

 

-Won

Best Art Direction: Set Decoration

Best Costume Design

Best Film Editing

Best Effects: Visual Effects

Best Music: Original Score

 

-Won

Special Achievement Award: Sound effects. 

 

-Nominated

Best Picture

Best Actor in a Supporting Role

Best Director

Best Writing: Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen

 

 

The Empire Strikes Back (1981)

 

-Won

Best Sound

 

-Won

Special Achievement Award

 

-Nominated

Best Art Direction: Set Decoration

Best Music: Original Score

 

 

Return of the Jedi (1984)

 

-Won

Special Achievement Award

 

-Nominated

Best Art Direction-Set Decoration

Best Sound

Best Effects: Sound Effects Editing

Best Music: Original Score

 

 

The Phantom Menace (2000)

 

-Nominated 

Best Sound Editing

Best Visual Effects

Best Sound Mixing

 

 

Attack of the Clones (2003)

 

-Nominated

Best Visual Effects

 

 

Revenge of the Sith (2006)

 

-Nominated 

Best Makeup

 

 

The Force Awakens (2016)

 

-Nominated

Best Original Score

Best Sound Editing

Best Sound Mixing

Best Film Editing

Best Visual Effects

 

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