Speaking of Mark Hamill’s performance in this year’s December release Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Star Wars: The Force Awakens director J.J. Abrams said this past week, “I think we are all going to be very upset if he does not win an Oscar.” It’s a great thought, and certainly hits on what must be a significant role in this year’s eagerly awaited Episode XIII. But it’s pretty unlikely if the ghost of Oscars past has anything to say about it. This year is like most years when it comes to Academy Award nominations. Dramas monopolize the nominee categories yet again. When a genre is represented–also as usual–the representations are dramas in genre dress (like Passengers). The usual representation of biopics (like Jackie), movies about Hollywood (like La La Land) and historical dramas (like Hacksaw Ridge) are back as well, sure to take home some of the coveted trophies tonight. But nine nominees for best picture and no Midnight Special?
The best animated film category provides a little relief, with Kubo and the Two Strings, Moana, Life as a Zucchini, The Red Turtle, and Zootopia as nominees. Oscar winner Colleen Atwood is back as a costume design nominee with one of the year’s fantasy releases, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, which also garnered a nod for production design. But why Fantastic Beasts? Compare Atwood’s reserved designs for Fantastic Beasts with her elaborate designs for The Huntsman: Winter’s War. Alas, Dave Crossman and Glyn Dillon’s landmark costume designs for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story were completely ignored, as were the hundreds of new, stunning, alien wardrobe designs and Starfleet retro-design uniforms created by Sanja Milkovic Hays for Star Trek Beyond.
As usual you need to look for the technical categories for the genre works. Star Trek Beyond and Suicide Squad, along with A Man Called Ove are the makeup and hairstyling contenders. Considering the fifty unique makeups designed for Star Trek Beyond in the franchise’s fiftieth year, this would be a triumph for the franchise. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story landed multiple nominations this year, including a deserved nod for sound mixing.