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Will Oscar Notice Rise of the Moody Blockbuster? Dawn and Snowpiercer Put Academy Prejudice to the Test

For a while now, as I just wrote about in the directors piece, the moody effects film has mostly been ignored by the Academy. There was District 9, which got a Best Picture slot when there were a solid ten nominations each voting member could submit. But when they shrunk the nomination ballots back to five for each Academy member, suddenly those five slots simply could not sacrifice a drama for a genre movie. That meant that since 2011, the Academy has mostly hewn to tradition.

Let’s clarify a little just for those who might be confused.

1945 – 2008 – the Academy had five Best Picture nominees and five slots for members to pick their favorites.

2009 – 2010 – The Academy allowed each member to choose ten nominees for Best Picture, which allowed them more freedom to pick from genre movies, movies starring women, etc.

2012 – now – The Academy shrunk the nominees back down to five so voters must only write down their favorite FIVE of the year, as opposed to their favorite ten.

Okay, now that we’ve cleared that up, let’s talk about two movies in the conversation right now – Snowpiercer and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. While the Apes movie is sure to dominate in visual effects, at least until Interstellar comes out, Snowpiercer might have an advantage in some other categories.

Snowpiercer is sitting with an 83 on Metacritic, while Dawn still has the luxury of being seen and reviewed only by only 9 people so far. Its score will likely drop somewhat as the backlash sets in. Then again, maybe it won’t. If it ends the season in the 90s on Metacritic, makes a shitload of money at the box office, it might become too big to ignore.

The question remains, can either of them make it onto the five slots voters will have for Best Picture? With five? I’m betting no way. Genre movies, or any big budget franchise, will be the first to get tossed in lieu of more traditional dramas. How many members will put either film down in the number spot come December? Or even in the five spot? There are still a few more moody genre films to come, with Interstellar chief among them.

Still, it’s nice to have great movies to see, no matter if the industry pays attention to them or not.