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9 Sci-fi Films That Should’ve Won Best Picture At The Oscars

Jesús Subero

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Academy Awards

The Academy Awards (Oscars) have a prestigious worldwide distinction. Given out by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences of the United States since 1929, they’re a recognition of films that stand out. But, if you take a closer look at the awards that have been awarded there’s a pattern that can be clearly seen. That is sci-fi films don’t receive the same recognition as other genres at the Oscars.

A total of 24 Awards are given, each one allocated to a different category. Some of the most well known are Best Picture, Best Foreign Language Film, or Best Original Screenplay. But, there are other categories that, are well received like the best actor, actress, or director.

One of the good things about the Oscars is that they tend to accommodate almost all film genres. Yet, not all genres are equally valued.

Regardless of how good the movie is, even if it’s later considered a movie classic, sci-fi films hardly ever get the attention they should at the Oscars.

Sci-fi tends to be pushed to awards like Best Visual Effects, Best Sound, Best Photography, or Best Sound Editing. Beyond these, we will find little. But is that fair?

We’re are going to look at 9 science fiction classics. 9 sci-fi films that were important in the genre and that, despite everything, were not credited as they should have been at the Oscars.

1. 2001: A Space Odyssey

1968, gave us one of the films that would make history in the world of cinema. 2001: A Space Odyssey, directed by Stanley Kubrick. It’s a landmark both for its revolutionary special effects and for the way imagery was responsible for communicating the story.

If you saw this movie now, it would not cause you the same emotion that it caused at that time. We are talking about a 1968 film and, in its context, it was a real innovation.

Science fiction gained a lot when Stanley Kubrick decided to direct this film. Addressing topics such as human evolution, technological advancement, life away from the Earth, and the appearance of Artificial Intelligence. It was a film endowed with incredible realism. Also, the soundtrack deserves separate consideration.

Despite everything, the Oscars failed to measure up for this sci-fi classic. It had four nominations: Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, Best Art Direction, and Best Visual Effects. It only received the award for Best Visual Effects.

That year the Best Picture Oscar went to Oliver!

2. Blade Runner

Released in 1982, inspired in a way by a Philip K. Dick novel called Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?. Not only is it considered a classic of its genre, but it’s also one of the forerunners of the cyberpunk genre. The film’s axis is artificial intelligence and the creation of replicants used for forced labour. Those that broke programming and have gone astray are being tracked by the cops, Blade Runners.

‘Blade Runner’ was nominated for two Oscars, for Best Art Direction and for Best Visual Effects. But it didn’t win any of them.

That year the Best Picture Oscar went to Gandhi

3. E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial

It feels impossible that you wouldn’t know this movie. Directed by Steven Spielberg and released in 1982. The film tells the story of E.T., a little alien stuck on Earth and he just wants to return home.

During his stay on our planet, he lives with an American family and becomes close friends with the family’s son, Elliott. However, everything gets complicated when his presence is discovered. Scientists cant comprehend friendly creatures and want to find and run tests on poor E.T.

It became a box office success, surpassing even Star Wars. Of the movies we’ve seen so far, it was the one that received the most award recognition. It got nine Oscar nominations, including Best Picture, but alas didn’t win it.

It ended up winning only four awards: Best Soundtrack, Best Sound, Best Sound Editing and, again, Best Visual Effects.

That year the Best Picture Oscar went to Gandhi

4. Interstellar

Directed by Christopher Nolan it’s one of the most recent sci-fi films on this list to fail with Best Picture at the Oscars, released in 2014.

In this film, it’s told how the Earth has to face the consequences of everything humans have done. There are few crops, agriculture is no longer sustainable. Humanity’s survival is increasingly threatened.

It’s discovered that there is a wormhole near Saturn, which could open a path to a galaxy with habitable planets for all humans. But it takes volunteers to research, and that’s exactly where Cooper, a former professor with a young daughter, goes.

The film has reminiscences of 2001: A Space Odyssey, incredible special effects, and a plot capable of keeping the viewer totally on edge. The surprising ending, mixing science fiction and some drama, manages to put a good ending to this film.

But, again, the Oscars failed to see it. It was nominated for Best Soundtrack, Best Production Design, Best Sound Editing, Best Sound, and Best Visual Effects, although it only won in the latter category.

That year the Best Picture Oscar went to Birdman

5. Alien

Today, after more than three decades, we can appreciate the film’s significance. A classic of science fiction and horror.

Directed by Ridley Scott (again), it got people screaming in movie theatres. Even to this day, this film is capable of making the odd exclamation, despite all the time that has passed and how much cinema has changed in those years.

One of the most curious details of this film is that it began as one more film, with some suspense and a low budget to face all the charges that it could entail. Indeed, neither the actors nor the director, nor the producers themselves, expected that Alien would end up being a movie classic.

Once again, the Oscars failed to measure up. It just got two nominations, Best Visual Effects, and Best Art Direction, skipping the rest. He was only awarded the same one that, at the time, won 2001: A Space Odyssey: Best Visual Effects.

That year the Best Picture Oscar went to Kramer vs. Kramer

6. Planet of the Apes (1968)

The same year that 2001: A Space Odyssey was released, we got to see some apey excellence. Directed by Franklin J. Schaffner it’s based on the novel by Pierre Boulle.

Astronauts are in a hibernation state when their ship suddenly falls into a lake, in the middle of a totally unknown planet. It is then that they discover that they are not alone on that planet.

Despite how important this film has been to the science fiction genre and how famous the rest of the saga films have been, it received only two Oscar nominations: Best Soundtrack and Best Costumes.

It did not win either of the two awards, but it won an honorary award for the makeup quality, as there was no specific category for makeup.

That year the Best Picture Oscar went to Oliver!

7. Inception

Going back to another of the more recent movies, we have Inception (2010). Christopher Nolan produced and directed it. The starring roles went to Leonardo DiCaprio and Ellen Page.

In this film, a thief named Dom Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio) uses a device that steals people’s ideas while they sleep to extract a specific plan from a Japanese tycoon. But the victim realizes it, and everything gets complicated. When they discover Cobb’s machine’s power, they offer him a job: instead of stealing ideas, he has to manage to create one. And this is how they’re immersed in the world of dreams.

It was nominated for 8 Oscars, quite an achievement considering that we are talking about science fiction. It won 4 awards, all down to the more technical aspects: Best Photography, Best Sound Editing, Best Sound, and Best Visual Effects.

That year the Best Picture Oscar went to The King’s Speech

8. Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope

The first of the world’s most popular galactic franchises came out in 1977. The impact and importance of the first Star Wars is unmatched by any other movie.

This sci-fi masterpiece was nominated for 11 Oscars, of which it managed to win 7. But, it failed to take the Oscar for Best Picture. It managed to win 7 statuettes for Best Art Direction, Best Costume Design, Best Visual Effects, Best Editing, Best Soundtrack, Best Sound, and Special Recognition to Ben Burtt.

That year the Best Picture Oscar went to Annie Hall

9. Mad Max: Fury Road

Directed by George Miller in 2015. Set in a post-apocalyptic future. A world where nuclear war has destroyed most of civilization. We see Max return for a reboot and a battle along the road.

It was nominated for ten Oscars in 2016. The film won 6 for Best Production Design, Best Sound Mixing, Best Makeup and Hairstyling, Best Sound Editing, Best Film Editing, and Best Costume Design.

That year the Best Picture Oscar went to Spotlight

Sign-off

So many other great Sci-fi films failed to make the Best Picture Oscar cut. A few more worth mentioning include The Martian, The Matrix, Gravity, The Time Machine, to name but a few.

It is curious that Hollywood doesn’t know how to reward sci-fi. But the important thing is that the viewer enjoys it, as many of us do.


Thanks for reading our article on 9 Sci-fi films that should’ve won Best Picture at the Oscars. Do you agree or disagree with our points or have anything to add? If so, leave us a comment below.


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The 9 Greatest Spoof Movies Ever

Aaron Phillips

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Embassy Pictures

There have been so many great spoof movies over the past four decades. So, sit back and buckle up as we countdown the nine greatest spoof movies of all time. And “don’t call me Shirley”.

9. Team America: World Police

Ok, so it’s all-puppet action as opposed to real-life actors, but it’s still up there. Written by the guys behind South Park, it parodies an American counter-terrorism force as they take on global terrorists. As you would expect, there are some cracking scenes throughout the movie. Kim Jong-il singing about being “so roney, so roney” is a highlight that isn’t easily forgotten. You also have to feel sorry for poor old Matt Damon. Although he’s had a glittering film career it’s still hard not to say “Matt Damon” in that monotone way every time you see him on screen. According to writers Matt Stone and Trey Parker, Damon’s puppet looked so vacant that they decided to make his character only able to say his name. Poor Matt. Add in some fantastic one-liners, over-the-top violence and sex scenes with puppets, you have a great film that will make you laugh, and cringe.

8. Blazing Saddles

Mel Brooks is the king of spoof and parody. He’s directed and written many a great spoof over the years, but Blazing Saddles was only his third movie in the director’s chair. This 1974 offering takes the proverbial from all the great western movies from the 40s and 50s. The film throws joke after joke at you, along with anachronisms aplenty. Lead actors Gene Wilder and Cleavon Little also deliver comedic gold performances that help make this film great. Brooks also does a clever job of dealing with racism throughout the movie; something that hadn’t really been done before. One of those moments is where Wilder and Little confront two Klan characters, before stealing their white gowns. Clever, and poignant. It’s also interesting to note that execs wanted to pull the plug before release, but soon realised they got it wrong. It was a financial success and has firmly sealed its place in history as an iconic piece of filmmaking. Not only that, but it’s also still rated very highly on Rotten Tomatoes and IMDb today. Just goes to show that a classic stands the test of time.

7. Spaceballs

Yep, our old friend Mel Brooks features again in the director’s chair. This time he delves into the world of sci-fi; more specifically, Star Wars. Although it only made a small profit at the time, it’s gone on to become a cult classic and holds a fresh rating at Rotten Tomatoes. The key to its success is it’s genuinely funny. The jokes are good enough to make you belly laugh. And the characters are so close to those on Star Wars, it’s amazing George Lucas gave his blessing for it to be made at all. He even went a step further and sent Mel Brooks a note to say he almost fell apart laughing through it. Praise indeed. Brooks’ other golden touch was casting Rick Moranis as Dark Helmet. I think you’ll struggle to find a funnier bad guy. There are also rumours of a sequel, predicted in the film itself as ‘The search for more Money’, although nothing has been greenlit at the moment. We live in hope.

6. Scary Movie

Ok, so there have been five films in the Scary Movie franchise but the first one from 2000 makes our list of spoof movies. Written by Shawn and Marlon Wayans and directed by Keenan Ivory Wayans, it’s definitely a family affair. Although later films parody a wide range of films, this one heavily relies on Scream, and I Know What You Did Last Summer. This works in the film’s favour as you don’t spend the entire movie wondering what film they’re parodying for each joke. You know that Ghostface from Scream is going to feature a lot. And he does. The scene where he gets stoned with a bunch of guys and prank calls people is still funny today. The later films just feel like a collection of forced jokes as they ran out of horror movies to parody. Although it received mixed reviews, it made a monumental profit at the box office.

5. The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad

No spoof movies list would be complete without at least one that features the brilliant Leslie Nielson. The Naked Gun, released in 1988, was based on the short-lived TV series from 1982. Created by the legend of deadpan comedy David Zucker, it follows Lt Frank Drebin on his escapades. The original Police Squad series was a spoof of 60s police dramas; particularly M Squad, and The Naked Gun follows the same theme. Plus, it ends with one of the best death scenes in film history with Nielson waving his arms and calmly addressing the crowd with “nothing to see here”. With superb writing and acting, The Naked Gun was released to critical acclaim. It also made a healthy profit at the box office and is often listed as one the greatest comedy films ever made.

4. Hot Shots!

Released in 1991 and directed by Jim Abrahams, Hot Shots! keeps things simple by purely being a spoof of Top Gun. And a very good one it is too. Not only is the writing funny and sharp, but it also has a fantastic cast. Playing the lead roles are Charlie Sheen and Cary Elwes as the two feuding pilots. Both actors are masters of comedic timing and they deliver their lines with razorlike sharpness. The plot revolves around a mission to Iraq, with the added love triangle involving Sheen and Elwes’ characters and a female therapist. This sub-plot lends itself to some genuinely hilarious scenes between the two actors. Credit also has to go to the fantastic Lloyd Bridges. He plays a commander who seems to have had every part of his body replaced due to it being blown off in various battles. His lines in the movie are comedy gold. A great film that hits all its spoof targets with absolute aplomb.

3. Monty Python’s Life of Brian

Written and performed by legendary British comedy troupe Monty Python, Life of Brian had a controversial start. Being a satire of Jesus’ life was always going to cause some angst among some religious communities. In fact, some countries including Ireland and Norway banned it from being shown on release. In some cases that ban the latest decades. Life of Brian is often quoted as one of the greatest comedy films ever made. The writing is as good as you would expect from the Monty Python crew, and the jokes keep coming all the way through. Who can forget the immortal line, “he’s not the messiah, he’s a very naughty boy”. It made a modest box office profit at release but has gone on to earn iconic status. Rotten Tomatoes have it as a 95% certified fresh rating and it’s still raved about today.

2. This is Spinal Tap

This is the film that kicked off a new genre of filmmaking – the mockumentary. Parodying band biopics from the Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin, it follows fictional band Spinal Tap on their debut American tour. If you’ve ever played in a band – as I do – so much of what’s in this film is true. I can personally attest to getting lost in venues and playing shows where no one turns up. Director Rob Reiner was sending up the pretensions of rock and roll bands and he nailed it. What’s also interesting is the majority of the dialogue throughout the film is improvised. Credit to the actors for pulling off some truly iconic lines. Whether it’s the Stonehenge scene or the legendary amp up to eleven scene, this film has embedded itself in our culture forever. It was only a modest success when it was first released, but its impact has left a lasting impression.

1. Airplane!

Well, we’ve flown; shot and rode our way to number one on our list of spoof movies. Once again, we arrive at a film directed by the dream team of the Zucker brothers and Jim Abrahams. Loosely based on air disaster movies of the 50s and 60s, it follows a plane whose crew are taken out with a sickness bug. Cue disgraced former pilot Ted Striker to save the day. Released in 1980, this was the film that set Leslie Nielson on the path of spoof comedy. He only has a fairly minor role as the doctor, but he delivers some of the best lines in the movie. ‘I am serious. And don’t call me Shirley’, is iconic. Lloyd Bridges also features as the man on the ground at air traffic control and turns in a chaotic but brilliant performance. Upon release, it made a whopping $168 million dollars at the box office and received critical acclaim. It’s also certified fresh at Rotten Tomatoes, along with ranking as one of the best on IMDb. It’s one of those films that make you cry with laughter thanks to clever writing and some fantastic performances. A timeless classic.


That’s our list of the nine greatest spoof movies. Did we miss any? Which is your favourite? Let us know in the comments below.


Read about movie remakes that should never have happened HERE.

Read IMDb information about Airplane! HERE.

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