Beta

Slashdot: News for Nerds

×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Should There Be a Sci-Fi Category At the Oscars?

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the best-alien-category dept.

Movies 309

An anonymous reader writes "In this chat with the originator of the light-saber in Star Wars and the Nostromo in Alien, director Roger Christian argues that the Academy Awards needs a special category for 'best science-fiction film.' It's a thorny subject, since such a new category would inevitably either get lumped in with fantasy/horror or further 'ghetto-ise' the genre. But with 2001 and Avatar snubbed for best picture, among many others over the years, does ANY sci-fi film ever have a shot at Best Picture?"

cancel ×

309 comments

Every time a bell rings (5, Insightful)

alphatel (1450715) | more than 2 years ago | (#39145675)

Avatar was about as sci-fi as Lord of the Rings which won the Oscar. Just because we geeks love sci-fi/fantasy/gore/zombies/pizza doesn't mean they all need categories. If you want to change the over-65 AA voters, become one of them. Get Cameron in there, Lucas, Spielberg, etc. You will have your own category and they will destroy it like everything else. Then of course we'll all be complaining that we need a true sci-fi category while we watch Forbidden Planet for the 40th time.

Re:Every time a bell rings (4, Interesting)

Suferick (2438038) | more than 2 years ago | (#39145699)

'Proper' SF (which I dare not attempt to define, but feel free to have a go) will always be too 'niche' for the general public to appreciate in this way. Perhaps there should be a Best Picture category at the Hugos instead.

Re:Every time a bell rings (2, Insightful)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 2 years ago | (#39145779)

Actual "proper" scifi is extremely hard to get both correct and entertaining at the same time - very few authors have achieved both.

Which is why scifi is generally accepted and tolerated to have elements of fantasy rather than be chained to actual science.

Re:Every time a bell rings (4, Funny)

alphatel (1450715) | more than 2 years ago | (#39145783)

Which is why scifi is generally accepted and tolerated to have elements of fantasy rather than be chained to actual science.

We tolerate nothing!

Signed,
the Zombie Apocalypse
P.S. - No we aren't sci-fi either but we occasionally eat Bladerunner enthusiasts

Re:Every time a bell rings (4, Insightful)

Zediker (885207) | more than 2 years ago | (#39145791)

When you get down to it... "Proper" Sci-Fi is a thought experiment (philosophical or otherwise) made manifest through media.

Re:Every time a bell rings (2)

wisty (1335733) | more than 2 years ago | (#39145849)

Not really. There's endless debates over what constitutes "proper" sci-fi. It can be "hard" (nothing which a few engineers, and slightly better tools can make), "medium" (hard, with one or two "breakthroughs"), "light" (lots of breakthroughs, ancient powers, remnant gods, aliens with unlimited power) and fantasy (anything goes).

Some of the best Sci-Fi is set ~30 years in the future.

Re:Every time a bell rings (4, Interesting)

vlad30 (44644) | more than 2 years ago | (#39146159)

I always liked this definition Spoken by the character Douglas Anders "Grell" in the SG1 episode 200

Science fiction is an existential metaphor that allows us to tell stories about the human condition. Isaac Asimov once said, "Individual science fiction stories may seem as trivial as ever to the blinded critics and philosophers of today, but the core of science fiction, its essence, has become crucial to our salvation, if we are to be saved at all."

Re:Every time a bell rings (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39146137)

As is all fiction.

And maybe I'm the first person here to say it but I find reading fiction really boring. I have started reading hundreds of pieces of fiction of various lengths and probably finished a dozen throughout my life, not including schoolwork.

I find it hard to pick up a book without immediately engaging a mindset of, "Here's a consumable that some guy has produced to make money and/or unload some issues. What comfortable fantasy is he creating to enable this?" And that's how my whole reading experience goes. Fiction makes no point well which can't be better made with reference to reality. It takes me nowhere without giving me the uncomfortable sense that someone thinks this is where I am supposed to need to be in order to see something false or escape something true. Fiction idealises; it romanticises; it preaches. It falls asleep and it dreams. It is a selfish journey away from the truth.

The world already has enough that is beautiful and that is abhorrent - and reality is far more challenging to confront. Fiction has always seemed like the easy way out.

Re:Every time a bell rings (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39146243)

lol

this really is the place to find self-important nerds, isn't it?

Re:Every time a bell rings (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39145803)

This. And it is why I hate SyFy so incredibly much for what they have done in recent years.
And just generally destroying shows as well, changing times around, etc.

I actually want them to die. They have done more damage than good to SciFi.

I'll stick with amateur productions, online productions and the like. Hell, even animation (anime in particular) has more hard SciFi than anything put out the last decade in film. That's just sad.
They are better than the trash put out these days. It is all action action action now to try pull in the action kiddies. No thanks, I like substance. (Even if it was acted by people in school for an English class!)

Re:Every time a bell rings (1, Informative)

wisty (1335733) | more than 2 years ago | (#39145885)

Minority Report, Equilibrium, Firefly, Doctor Who, Battlestar Galactica, Serenity, District 9, Inception, Sucker Punch ... it wasn't all bad.

OK, the best were TV series. And yes, I was trolling with that last one.

Re:Every time a bell rings (4, Insightful)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 2 years ago | (#39146041)

Note that all of those tend towards the soft end of the scale, ranging from 'marshmellow' for Minority Report to 'thick fog' for Dr Who. Hard sci-fi tends to have less mass-appeal and so be less likely to get the big-budget movie or TV treatment.

Re:Every time a bell rings (1)

Boscrossos (997520) | more than 2 years ago | (#39146189)

Hey! I enjoyed Sucker Punch. It was, above all, a beautiful movie (in the visual sense). The story was meh (but had some nice ideas), though I did enjoy trying to link what was happening in the different levels of "reality" (I tried to use the word thought provoking in connection with this movie, but reality overwrote me). They could have done a lot more with it, though, maybe switch back and forth a couple of times to the real world (asylum). However, you can not deny that all the "dream travel" parts were action-packed pieces of delicious, sweet eye-candy (and I don't mean just the boobs). With some better writers, that movie could have been a classic.

I see how you are (2)

Garybaldy (1233166) | more than 2 years ago | (#39146231)

Just ignore Babylon 5. Probably to old for you.

Re:Every time a bell rings (1, Insightful)

jd2112 (1535857) | more than 2 years ago | (#39146509)

Sucker Punch was bad. Not nearly as bad as the critics made it out to be but other than eye candy it didn't have too many redeeming values.

Re:Every time a bell rings (3)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 2 years ago | (#39146543)

Moon and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind easily top any of those, in my opinion.

Re:Every time a bell rings (2)

Xiaran (836924) | more than 2 years ago | (#39145881)

Sci-fi can be succinctly defined as speculation, whether based on established scientific facts or on logical pseudo-facts consistent with the framework of the fiction in question, involving smelly green pimply aliens furiously raping or eating, or both, beautiful naked bare-breasted chicks, covering them in slime, red, oozing, living slime, dribbling from every horrific orifice, squeezing out between bulbous pulpy lips onto the sensuous velvety skin of the writhing sweating slave-girls, their bodies cut and bruised by knotted whips brandished by giant blond vast-biceped androids called Simon, and written in the Gothic mode. -- Peter Nicholls, True Rat 7 (1976)

Re:Every time a bell rings (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39145903)

Sci-Fi, stands for science fiction. If you have both, then you have Sci-Fi.

But they shouldn't bother with a category. Hollywood seems to turn out more crap than ever. How about instead of nominating what they think is good, instead of arranging everything they got and pick the top few? Oh, wait! That would mean some categories would stay empty for years at a time ...

Re:Every time a bell rings (4, Interesting)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 2 years ago | (#39145917)

"Proper" SF isn't "hard SF" Although they're both difficult to get right, especially if you also want to be entertaining.

The idea of sci fi in general, and its main strength over other forms of literature, is to explore some social issue using fantastic elements to disguise the bits that would prejudice the reader. Like the film Gattaca, which explorers racism without prejudicing white viewers with actual race differences. (speaking of which.. why does the title have an extra letter?)

Hard scifi doesn't necessarily don't explore real issues, but instead plays with the what if [thing that's impossible] were everyday and commonplace scenario. Sometimes you get a story that's engrossing. Sometimes you get a product manual for products you can never buy. Frequently, you miss out on the "permanent and universal interest" part of enduring literature, though.

Re:Every time a bell rings (1)

shadowrat (1069614) | more than 2 years ago | (#39146325)

I wish I had some mod points for you. You deserve a 5 Knows SF.

Re:Every time a bell rings (1)

Oswald McWeany (2428506) | more than 2 years ago | (#39146329)

Well- there are three types of sci-fi.

Those that explore social issues; (Gattaca was excellent. I like Well's work too- even though his books that were made into films were dumbed down on the social-issue side).

There are those that try to predict the future- or use hard science facts to tell stories.

Then there are the silly "Made For SyFy channel" features and their ilk. The ones that don't use science, don't really tell a social story; they're just dumb entertainment. Sometimes fun- but often just campy. They're the equivalent of romance stories for men. Same plot lines told over and over again cranked out on an assembly line by uninventive authors.

Honestly- although there can be entertainment in all three- I prefer the ones that make you think. The ones that speak out about today. I don't care if the science-or the facts or off...make me think once in a while.

Re:Every time a bell rings (2)

Kjella (173770) | more than 2 years ago | (#39146047)

The obsession over "proper" sci-fi is to me a bit like wanting more fancy graphics over game play in computer games. Yes, a hardcore scientific look at the feasibility of a Ringworld is great, but put it on Discovery or National Geographic and don't call it a movie. Any good movie depends on the characters and the story, not the scientific accuracy of the setting. A good sci-fi movie is to me one that makes a good connection between the technology and the storyline, if it's just a normal series put in a futuristic setting with lasers instead of bullets then that doesn't get any points with me. Like they say, any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic so I consider both of them forms of "what if" stories. Some are closer to technological advances we can imagine than others, but that in itself doesn't make it a better movie.

Re:Every time a bell rings (2, Interesting)

SerpentMage (13390) | more than 2 years ago | (#39146229)

No actually you are wrong and missing the intent of science fiction. Take Star Trek for example, which went from good ol SciFi, to hand waving fantasy land. Yes I blame the writers.

Let's say I am writing a story and in the story I hit what I would call a dead end. In the case of Lord of the Rings it is when Gandor is taken down the bridge and "dies". At this point the question becomes how does the story adjust when it hits a dead end? In the case of fantasy a wand is waved and Gandor comes back as a new Gandor the white, who has progressed to the next level. In fantasy we accept that, but from a story line its hand waving and taking a short cut to get out of a story.

In contrast when a story hits a dead in with science fiction you can't hand wave. You HAVE TO figure it out as a puzzle with limits and boundaries. This is what makes SciFi so hard because it has limits on what is believable and what is not believable. Getting back to Star Trek in later episodes there was a quite a bit of hand waving. When the plot became difficult and hitting a dead end some magical technology appeared and all is ok in the Federation. That is violating the rules of Science Fiction.

Re:Every time a bell rings (5, Informative)

BarryHaworth (536145) | more than 2 years ago | (#39146059)

Perhaps there should be a Best Picture category at the Hugos instead.

There already is. The Hugo award for Best Dramatic Presentation [wikipedia.org] has been in operation since 1958. 2001 won the award in 1968, Avatar was nominated in 2010, but lost to Moon (which is arguably a better movie).

I discovered this category a couple of years ago, and have found the list of winners and nominees very instructive. It's alerted me to a lot of good movies which I would otherwise have missed.

Re:Every time a bell rings (1)

Chaos Incarnate (772793) | more than 2 years ago | (#39146395)

That's what Best Dramatic Presentation (Long Form) is.

Re:Every time a bell rings (3, Insightful)

scottrocket (1065416) | more than 2 years ago | (#39145717)

Who cares whether or not Science Fiction films receive Oscars? I just enjoy watching them (aside: I just ordered another copy of "Forbidden Planet" : ) ).

Re:Every time a bell rings (1)

Tseax (193552) | more than 2 years ago | (#39145929)

Here here!

Re:Every time a bell rings (1)

Boscrossos (997520) | more than 2 years ago | (#39146275)

Well, if they got Oscars, arguably more people might bother making them, put more money into them, and we might get more (some might even be good).

Re:Every time a bell rings (1)

Oswald McWeany (2428506) | more than 2 years ago | (#39146379)

Very good point.

I think the kind of people who actually pay the slightest bit of attention to the oscars arn't *usually* Sci-Fi people to begin with.

(yes I know there are probably exceptions) I know I personally have never sat down to watch the oscars. I've never even cared enough to see who wins what after they're over. Often times if it is on the news I hear who won- but it's not information I actively seek. I really don't care.

Re:Every time a bell rings (5, Insightful)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 2 years ago | (#39145733)

Sort version: NO

Longer version: If we start down the 'categories' road then everybody will want one.

The Oscars are bullshit anyway. eg. Look at how many winners weren't released in the couple of months leading up to the awards, it's close to zero. Conclusion: We're asking a bunch of fashion designers what the best movies are.

Which is also why geek movies never win unless they're exceptionally pretty or family oriented.

Re:Every time a bell rings (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39145987)

Sort version: NO

ok, fine I'll do it

"eiNnOorsv:"

Twilight would win big time. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39146015)

The Academy would never vote for a film like this: Primer [wikipedia.org] .

Too heady and too much thinking and mind warping. THAT movie was science fiction in the classic sense.

SyFy (intentional use of SyFy channel's bastard name) in Holllywood are action adventure/fantasy/present day issues with fancy CGI.

Avatar? An environmentalist movie with a romantic primitivism or noble savage theme on steroids.

Star Wars and Star Trek are not much better.

AND if there was a Sci Fi, I mean SyFy category, you just KNOW that Twilight would be raking in the awards.

Re:Twilight would win big time. (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 2 years ago | (#39146113)

Fern Gully.... in SPAAAACE!

Re:Every time a bell rings (1)

digitig (1056110) | more than 2 years ago | (#39146393)

Sort version: NO

Longer version: If we start down the 'categories' road then everybody will want one.

My thoughts exactly. If we have best Sci-Fi then why not best Rom-Com, best road movie, best fantasy, best drama, best gay cowboy movie and so on. Heck, why not have a category for every film made, that way everyone's a winner.

If they want an award that films like Avatar could win, maybe an award for "highest grossing". But I can see why the Academy doesn't see a need for that.

Re:Every time a bell rings (3, Funny)

Comboman (895500) | more than 2 years ago | (#39146587)

They tried to have a Best Western category, but they were sued by some hotel chain.

Re:Every time a bell rings (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39146487)

Medium version: The Oscars don't *deserve* a Science Fiction category.

Re:Every time a bell rings (2)

Z00L00K (682162) | more than 2 years ago | (#39145763)

You still have the Hugo and Nebula awards for Science Fiction.

But the sad thing is that sometimes a movie is done in a Science Fiction style with no concerns about providing a good story and is just using the genre to permit an overabundance of special effects.

The best special effects is when the viewer thinks it's a natural part of the set and it appears realistic. A lot of the computer generated special effects you see today are still not having a natural appearance, even if there are cases where it's hard to tell. One example of a good computer generation is the much hated figure JarJar Binks in Star Wars (not perfect, but a well done), but sometimes you see animations of snakes in other movies where the snake looks like it's levitating.

B.t.w. if you want to see a movie in the Science Fiction category that's good and has very little special effects I suggest that you watch K-Pax with Kevin Spacey.

Re:Every time a bell rings (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39145829)

What K-Pax has to do with science fiction?

Re:Every time a bell rings (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39146035)

It has Kevin Spacey!

Re:Every time a bell rings (1)

SerpentMage (13390) | more than 2 years ago | (#39146363)

Everything, did you not watch the movie???

The premise is that advanced humans travel via light. I think the movie was getting at the wave particle duality theory; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wave%E2%80%93particle_duality [wikipedia.org]

In essence energy can either be a wave or a particle. The entire theory of the movie is based on the idea that this alien travels from place to place using this theory. However the pyschologist does not believe him.

Re:Every time a bell rings (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 2 years ago | (#39146217)

Pocahontas errr ummm Avatar only Oscars it would deserve to get are Oscars for Special Effects... As for Best Picture... No... It was a popular movie, However it was a cheesy predictable plot redone over and over again.

Man is an outsider goes to a new area with a group of people who trust him.
Man meets up with a chick in new area who he connects with and a culture he feels like he is less of an outsider in.
Man finds the group that he was with are actually doing bad things to the new group he likes.
Man Burns the Candle at the both ends for a bit.
One side and/or the other find out about him.
Man gets separated from both groups.
Man chooses which side he should be on.
Man kicks the butt of the opposing side.

Re:Every time a bell rings (1)

bigstrat2003 (1058574) | more than 2 years ago | (#39146331)

Yep. The effects were good, but the plot was terrible.

Re:Every time a bell rings (1)

Tom Christiansen (54829) | more than 2 years ago | (#39146531)

Avatar was about as sci-fi as Lord of the Rings which won the Oscar.

Say what? There was nothingThe Lord of the Rings, — at all.

Tolkien actually enjoyed hard sf, especially Asimov, but his roots were in Beowulf and the Eddas, not in H.G. Wells. It’s like comparing apples with aardvarks: not even in the same kingdom.

Tolkien’s work is fundamentally mythologic in scope, looking to the past and recreating a series of tales out of old myths and half-remembered memories. Science fiction is a completely different beast. It extrapolates possible futures by applying known principles to unknown possibilities, all the while keeping within the laws of nature as we understand them. Yes, both are story-telling, but that is as close as it gets.

Science and myth are truly about as far apart as you can get, so I cannot see how you could possibly make such an outlandish statement.

Re:Every time a bell rings (1)

dtmancom (925636) | more than 2 years ago | (#39146533)

Yes, Avatar wasn't sci-fi. But then I watched the cut without the alien planet, human hibernation during a multi-year voyage between stars, mind-transfer pods, VTOL aircraft and bombers, battlemech suits, massive, remotely piloted strip mining machines, and alien races and ecosystems. The version I watched was kind of short. ;-)

Um, no (5, Insightful)

Y2KDragon (525979) | more than 2 years ago | (#39145677)

And while 2001 is a fantastic movie, comparing it to the other movies in question, it's not even close. It's like making the equivalent of an NIT tournament in College Basketball. No, if a Sci-Fi movie cannot stand on it's own against the other top movies, it's not worthy of a "best movie" award. This, from a long-time sci-fi fan, who wants to see a sci-fi movie win because it really was the best movie of the year. Sci-Fi movies already clean up in most of the effects, makeup, and other technical fields. Even soundtracks from sci-fi movies get nods. This is the big league. Step up to the plate or go home. But don't whine about not going to the All-Star game when you are just average (at best).

Re:Um, no (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39145703)

There is a very real problem of genre movies not being taken seriously, though. Even if a film is as good or better than works done in realistic modern or period settings there is a bias towards the non-genre film.

Re:Um, no (4, Insightful)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 2 years ago | (#39145735)

I agree with the parent.

There is no special category for romance, comedy, action or other types of live action film, so why should there be one for science fiction? As much as I love scifi myself, its not worthy of an entirely separate category at the awards, over and above every other sub-category within the live action category.

The fact that Avatar was "snubbed" has nothing to do with it being scifi, as it simply wasn't the best actual film - it won "Best Cinematography" and "Best Art Direction" because it was a treat for the eyes, but as a film it was really quite poor.

As for 2001, it won "Best Visual Effects", but wasn't even nominated for "Best Picture" - again, there were better films that year.

So no, it doesn't deserve a special category all of its own. This meritocracy only goes so far.

Re:Um, no (2)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 2 years ago | (#39145759)

In addition, Avatar won "Best Visual Effects" as well - so basically it won in every category in which people were talking about it before it was released anyway. People didn't go to the cinema to see Avatar for the plot, they went to see it because of the fantastic visual elements that were being raved about - and surprisingly, Avatar won in all of those categories at the awards...

Not much more to say really.

Re:Um, no (2)

Ginger Unicorn (952287) | more than 2 years ago | (#39146091)

Never having seen Dances with Wolves or Ferngully the Last Rainforest, I even enjoyed the plot of Avatar when I went to see it. I was convinced it would be the new Star Wars, then I came out of the cinema and everyone thought it was shit. I still thinks it's brilliant though, in my own little world...

Re:Um, no (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 2 years ago | (#39146149)

I've not seen DwW, but I have seen FG, and they do have huge simularities:
- Western Guy goes to some wilderness to do environmentally destructive stuff.
- Circumstance and luck lead to western guy meeting the natives.
- The natives are shown to be some perfect culture, in-tune with nature, loving of all living things, peaceful and generally all-round nice.
- Western guy falls in love with native culture (And native hot chick).
- EVIL CORPORATION wants to destroy the wilderness!
- Western guy switches sites, and together with the natives fights off EVIL CORPORATION.
- Wilderness saved.

Only the endings really differ. In Avatar he goes native fully to spend the rest of his life with them, while in FG he realises that for all he has achieved he really only managed to break a single logging machine and so the best way he can protect the natives is by leaving them to return to his own people and become an environmental activist.

Re:Um, no (2)

itsdapead (734413) | more than 2 years ago | (#39146191)

Never having seen Dances with Wolves or Ferngully the Last Rainforest, I even enjoyed the plot of Avatar when I went to see it.

All these people saying that Avatar was just a ripoff of "Ferngully, the Last Dances With Pocahontas" are completely missing the point.

...which is that Avatar was a dumbed-down version of Dune :-).

Re:Um, no (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39146267)

My situation was the reverse. I had previously seen Fern Gulley and to be it felt like someone smooshed that saturday matinee kids movie together with a two hour video card tech demo, I was absolutely bored to death and it remains the one movie at the cinema which I have ever fallen asleep during. At the end it got applause from the rest of the cinema, I was speechless, convinced they'd somehow seen a different movie (or that the five minutes I slept through somehow revealed a deep and meaningful understanding that the rest of it failed to deliver. Not only am I not surprised it didn't win the Oscar, I'm surprised anyone else is surprised, or even that we're still talking about it two years later.

Re:Um, no (3, Insightful)

tverbeek (457094) | more than 2 years ago | (#39146097)

A friend of mine bitches about the Oscars because movies like The Hurt Locker, No Country For Old Men, and Crash win Best Picture instead of Trasformers, Night at the Museum, or Meet the Fockers, which did so much better at the box office. In other words, he complains that the Oscars are.... the Oscars. The Academy isn't interested in presenting awards for Best Screwball Comedy or Best Action Film. They aren't trying to re-reward financial or popular success. They're honoring what they consider achievements in acting, direction, etc. If you want an award for Best Science Fiction Film, look to the Saturns or Hugos.

Re:Um, no (3, Insightful)

dj245 (732906) | more than 2 years ago | (#39146313)

And while 2001 is a fantastic movie, comparing it to the other movies in question, it's not even close. It's like making the equivalent of an NIT tournament in College Basketball. No, if a Sci-Fi movie cannot stand on it's own against the other top movies, it's not worthy of a "best movie" award.

The winner of the Oscar and the Golden Globe that year for best picture was Oliver [imdb.com] . Nobody has ever asked me if I saw Oliver. Nobody has ever told me I should watch that movie. 2001 became the classic. That isn't even just my opinion. 2001 is on the National Film Preservation Board registry [imdb.com] . Oliver, while it may be a good movie, was mostly forgotten after 1969.

You can argue about these awards actually choosing the best picture or not. But they don't seem to be choosing the memorable movies that become classics in many cases.

Special Effects (4, Insightful)

SJHillman (1966756) | more than 2 years ago | (#39145679)

Science Fiction films tend to be subsets of either action or drama films, but with more special effects. Just because it's a different setting doesn't change that it's an action and/or drama with a lot of special effects.

Re:Special Effects (2)

Tom Christiansen (54829) | more than 2 years ago | (#39146571)

Science Fiction films tend to be subsets of either action or drama films, but with more special effects.

Not necessarily. Gattaca certainly was not full of special effects; neither, really, was Blade Runner, and both were better movies than 99% of the dreck that purports to be science fiction.

And the light saber goes to... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39145691)

...I find your lack of faith disturbing!

Would be kind of cool to receive a really well done, authentic light saber as a "statuette" instead of the usual boring artsy-fartsy shapes no one knows what resemble anyway.

Simple answer (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39145695)

No. Creating a ghetto-like category so that science fiction prizes can be awareded each year is stupid.
A science fiction film is still a film. There are historicals films, realistic films, war films etc... Science fiction films are not a special category.
The reason most of them don't get a prize can be reduced to 2 reasons :
- one is that they suck and suck royally
- two there is still a prejudice to look at science fiction films as class z films.

Re:Simple answer (1)

dargaud (518470) | more than 2 years ago | (#39146013)

Yeah, if you want to make oscar categories there are some that deserve their own even more: Best comedy. Best 'bad guy'. Best kid/family movie, etc...

Re:Simple answer (2)

Stoopiduk (1593855) | more than 2 years ago | (#39146373)

Best 'bad guy'.

"And for the 35th consecutive year, the award goes to... Darth Vader!"

Apples and apples (2)

Patchw0rk F0g (663145) | more than 2 years ago | (#39145721)

I'd like to see more sci-fi win the big ticket, but I don't think we need, nor even want, a new category. Whether a movie is set in Cow-tip, New Hampshire or a galaxy far, far away, it's the merit of the movie itself, the characterization, cinematography, direction etc. that makes a great movie. Let the science fiction be graded on the same merits as other movies. If it's good, it'll be rewarded as such. Otherwise, perhaps the musical numbers from Mr. Lucas might be compared to "Chicago"?

Ugh. Just grossed myself out there.

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (0, Flamebait)

Rik Sweeney (471717) | more than 2 years ago | (#39145723)

I'd like to see more Sci-Fi movies getting a nomination for best film, but from the looks of things unless it's about 9/11 or the War on Terror(TM) you're just going to be passed over.

Not gonna happen (0)

Garybaldy (1233166) | more than 2 years ago | (#39145729)

The Academy has stated repeatedly that it does not consider Sci-Fi to be real work. That Sci-Fi is for children and being for children is not worth giving the top awards too.

Re:Not gonna happen (1)

KiloByte (825081) | more than 2 years ago | (#39145883)

Don't worry, I don't consider Hollywood to be worth a sliver of my time. Including those few Sci-Fi flicks they make: the comparison of Avatar and Pocahontas can tell you much.

Seriously, even cesspools like 4chan are so much above that kind of prolefeed: at least there is some sort of creativity from all participants, unlike Hollywood's politically correct drivel: "content" to "consume".

And you don't need hundreds of millions of dollars to tell a good story: compare recent Sci-Fi movies with Howard Tayler's Schlock Mercenary [schlockmercenary.com] .

Re:Not gonna happen (1)

Garybaldy (1233166) | more than 2 years ago | (#39146175)

All that drivel makes money. If you were an investor you would probably be like most and insist your invested company keep doing what continues to make but loads of cash. You know rehashing the same old crap over and over.

Those that only want the fresh new stories are welcome to only invest in the small independent stuff. You know the films that are about as likely to make money as winning the lottery. Oh sure we have several independent films that become blockbusters each year. Out of how many independent films made each year.

Inception (2)

TheKnave (879982) | more than 2 years ago | (#39145731)

To be fair, I think a lot of geeks are quite forgiving of scifi because it's scifi. However imaginative the story, often it's just not that well done. On top of which the awards tend to be about acting i.e. it's hard to get a best picture nod without an actor/actress also, and it's hard to justify one of those when the protagonists spend their time in suits / cgi.

Look at the reception that Inception and LotR have received.

At the Oscars? (1)

pcardoso (132954) | more than 2 years ago | (#39145747)

I'd settle for decent shelf space at the local book stores.

As I see it, sci-fi get relegated to the bottom shelf on a hidden corner of the store, while esoterism, alternative medicines crap, and the latest celebrity endorsed diet gets to the front window.

Re:At the Oscars? (1)

freedumb2000 (966222) | more than 2 years ago | (#39145799)

Books primarily targeted at women in general seems to get top shelf-space. This is not some sort of conspiracy though, the self-help addicted female crowd are probably the best customers, so you have to cater to them. Just be happy your book store even still carries sci-fi. So really the fault is not in the book store, it is the fact that males in general seem to read a lot less these days.

Re:At the Oscars? (1)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 2 years ago | (#39145819)

You need a better book store - at my local chain (Waterstones), there is about 50 meters of shelf space given over to scifi and fantasy, with about half of it being scifi. At both of my local independents, there is about 20 meters of shelf space for scifi and fantasy, again with a good leaning toward scifi.

I have no trouble picking up a new scifi book these days.

Actaully, this might be a good place to ask - does anyone know the name of a scifi series based around humanity being enslaved by an ancient alien race who created a huge empire out of thousands of enslaved races, with the series starting as the very last member of that master race dying and the rest of the series involving a civil war within the now leaderless empire? The main characters were a male and a female, with the male going on to revolutionise tactics within the fleet.

I read it ages ago but can't remember what its called.

Re:At the Oscars? (2)

Shimbo (100005) | more than 2 years ago | (#39145907)

Actaully, this might be a good place to ask - does anyone know the name of a scifi series based around humanity being enslaved by an ancient alien race who created a huge empire out of thousands of enslaved races, with the series starting as the very last member of that master race dying and the rest of the series involving a civil war within the now leaderless empire? The main characters were a male and a female, with the male going on to revolutionise tactics within the fleet.

I read it ages ago but can't remember what its called.

You are thinking of the Dread Empire's Fall trilogy by Walter Jon Williams.

Re:At the Oscars? (1)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 2 years ago | (#39146147)

Brilliant, thats the one - thankyou :)

Soon everyone will want their own category . . . (2)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 2 years ago | (#39145757)

. . . best Drama, best Romance, best Action, best Boy & His Dog, best Thriller, best Childrens', and even the Best of the Best . . .

The Academy Awards will become a week long event.

So many fake smiles in the news would kill folks.

If Sci-Fi films were good enough, they would win (5, Insightful)

BillCable (1464383) | more than 2 years ago | (#39145785)

No need for a new category... the notion itself is ridiculous. Are Sci-Fi geeks really pining so badly for an Oscar for one of "their" films? Do they need that validation? I don't. I'm just happy to see a good film from time to time. Hell - be happy we're going to see Avengers, Dark Knight, and Prometheus this year. I'm a hell of a lot more excited about that than I am the prospect of someone getting a little gold man.

If someone ever creates a Sci-Fi film that deserves an Oscar more than all the other films that year, it'll win one. Win because of quality, not because the suits created a little sub-award to placate you.

PS: Avatar didn't deserve a nomination, much less the award. I think that was a gesture for making a couple billion dollars while hitting all the correct political points.

Avatar wasn't that good. (4, Insightful)

Nyder (754090) | more than 2 years ago | (#39145869)

I saw Avatar and it's not that good of a movie. Sure, it's not bad, but movie of the year good? Oh, hell no.

It was a 3D Selling Gimmick, not a great movie.

Re:Avatar wasn't that good. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39145963)

I concur, there is a reason that Avatar didn't win an Oscar. It was shite and the Hurt Locker wasn't

Simples

Re:Avatar wasn't that good. (1)

TheGoodNamesWereGone (1844118) | more than 2 years ago | (#39146427)

Agreed. "Dances With Smurfs" in 3D is what it was. "2001" deserved to win, as did the original 1977 "Star Wars," but not "Avatar."

An alternative (5, Insightful)

windcask (1795642) | more than 2 years ago | (#39145877)

Start ignoring Hollywood's self-congratulatory circle jerk events (Golden Globes, Oscars, Grammy Awards, etc) and start forming your own opinions on art and media. They won't think twice about deputizing the FBI to kick in your door if you so much as rip a DVD to your computer, so why do you feel you owe them your attention?

Re:An alternative (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39145951)

I agree. Don't confuse the Oscars to be designed for movie fans. It's the industry's marketing department.
F@ck them and just create our own Sci-Fiction awards with all their own categories. No need to televise them since anybody can stream/torrent/youtube it.

Why would that be hard at all?

Re:An alternative (1)

JasterBobaMereel (1102861) | more than 2 years ago | (#39146343)

Who gets to vote

Golden Globes : 93 members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association
Oscars : 6,000 motion picture professionals mostly American
Grammys : NARAS a U.S. organization of musicians, producers, recording engineers and other recording professionals

So no bias there then ... amazing that US movies mostly win with the occasional English language movie from elsewhere

Dances with Wolves Won (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39145897)

But it's remake "Avatar" didn't. HOW RUDE!

Sure, why not? (1)

Zorque (894011) | more than 2 years ago | (#39145919)

Then we can have categories for all the movie genres that don't win awards and nobody will have to feel left out! Picture it, "Best Romantic Comedy", "Best Direct to DVD Action Movie", "Best Teen Fantasy", etc. Maybe we could just give an Oscar to everybody who's upset they didn't win.

Just kidding, that's a terrible idea and you should feel bad for having it.

Re:Sure, why not? (1)

Cytotoxic (245301) | more than 2 years ago | (#39145983)

Actually, I think they already have this award show. It is called the MTV movie awards. They also have categories for "best kiss", etc. See also: "Teen Choice Awards".

Marketing gimmick (1)

clyde_cadiddlehopper (1052112) | more than 2 years ago | (#39145921)

The academy awards serve a purpose. Just as the Superbowl is more about the ads than the game on the field, And Oscar night has evolved to become more about the red carpet than the statuettes. SciFi = Summer Blockbuster (generally). Blockbuster summer films just don't seem to require the type of hype machine that the Academy dishes up.

The problem with 2001 and Avatar (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39145971)

is that, as stories, they're shit. Avatar was like watching a film written by an eight-year old being forced to be oh-so politically correct - it was painful to watch. The special effects were fantastic, production values were through the roof, and it deserved technical Oscars but.... best film? For that shit? Not a chance.

As for 2001, at least it watches like it was written by people with brains. Indeed, it's one of the most well-thought through films I've watched. Unfortunately it's also deathly boring and the pointless trippy shit at the end, doubtless just pandering to the times, completely ruins it. I could very happily take a knife to 2001 and trim 90 flabby minutes from it and end up with a reasonably tight, albeit still rather dull, film. 2001 deserved as many technical Oscars as it could get, and if they had a "scientific veracity in science-fiction" category then it would be a well-deserved winner, but best film? Not a chance.

Yes why not, there is already a category for every (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39145995)

See headline.

God, no. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39146029)

Have you seen the sci-fi section on Amazon Prime or Netflix? They're hideous, and you want to give that stuff a category? God, no.

Snubed? (1)

chrismcb (983081) | more than 2 years ago | (#39146105)

How was 'Avatar' snubbed? The movie didn't deserve a nomination, let alone win. The movie wasn't very good. It looked good, but that was about it.

Avatar? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39146111)

You mean the crappy Dances with Wolves remake that had nice CGI? Sorry, but special effects do not a best picture make. It's story was utter crap...

Oscar is useless (1)

TheDarkMaster (1292526) | more than 2 years ago | (#39146193)

The Oscar is mere self-promotion in a "voting" as impartial as the elections in Florida. I've had enough of seeing movies that deserve to go to the garbage winning an Oscar for having paid well for the "judges" or fall into the good graces of "film critics", while the audience hated it. And those who matter most: The public that pays for movie tickets and rentals of DVDs or professional critics?

The Oscar is a circus for vanity, nothing more than that.

Mmmm.... (1)

Cornwallis (1188489) | more than 2 years ago | (#39146239)

Who cares about the Oscars?

No, never (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 2 years ago | (#39146263)

Should There Be a Sci-Fi Category At the Oscars?

Absolutely not.

They'll just fuck it up. In 2002, for example, the Richard Gere musical Chicago won best picture. It was the second year in a row that a musical won best picture.

The movie it beat? Martin Scorsese's epic masterpiece The Gangs of New York.

If "The Academy" were to give one Star Wars movie best sci-fi picture, it would have been Phantom Menace.

Secondly, we only occasionally have a year where there are four really good sci-fi movies worthy of nominating. So movies that are not sci-fi would end up getting into the competition. "Pirates of the Caribbean"-style movies (or Transformers!) would get in, just because they have SFX. Does anyone believe Transformers was sci-fi?

Better we don't let the Hollywood establishment screw around with this. Not everything has to be a competition. I like that sci-fi movies are the red-headed stepchild of the movie business because that means occasionally really interesting movies get made, like Moon and Werner Herzog's The Wild Blue Yonder.

Anyway, the Oscars suck. Why would we want science fiction associated with the Oscars?

Oscars are massively biased (1)

JasterBobaMereel (1102861) | more than 2 years ago | (#39146279)

When was the last time a non-english movie won, a horror movie, a bollywood movie (Slumdog was a British/American movie) etc. etc ..

When are people going to wake up that Oscars are voted for by an Elite cliquey non-elected panel of Hollywood insiders known as the Academy

They are not reflective of actual success, some of the most popular, and most successful movies did not win, some well know actors and directors have never won ...

Re:Oscars are massively biased (1)

rudy_wayne (414635) | more than 2 years ago | (#39146371)

Oscars are voted for by an Elite cliquey non-elected panel of Hollywood insiders known as the Academy

They are not reflective of actual success, some of the most popular, and most successful movies did not win, some well know actors and directors have never won ...

Yes, this is true. So what?

Get over it already.

Why? (1)

hargrand (1301911) | more than 2 years ago | (#39146289)

Sound's like you're trying to turn the Oscars into the Grammys.

no (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | more than 2 years ago | (#39146301)

The oscars are a joke and would ruin sci-fi movies as directors scrambled to try and win.

Also, the Oscars definition of "Sci-fi" would almost assuredly piss most real Sci-fi fans off.

ghetto-ise ? (1, Offtopic)

rudy_wayne (414635) | more than 2 years ago | (#39146345)

'ghetto-ise' the genre?

Are you referring to Gay Niggers From Outer Space?

Oscar nominations by genre (1)

ethorad (840881) | more than 2 years ago | (#39146389)

The BBC has an article up which shows the breakdown of nominations by genre:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-17074585 [bbc.co.uk]

Sci-Fi does seem to be one of the smaller genres by nominations.

However, does it really matter? I know I stopped reading critics reviews of movies decades ago, because largely they all review from a particular viewpoint. A more action/sci-fi/fantasy film may not be up for winning an oscar, but if it does it's job (ie entertains) then its genre shouldn't be held against it. As such I'll only read reviews of films which are penned by people interested in that genre and the film's objective.

Avatar sucked (1)

gatkinso (15975) | more than 2 years ago | (#39146499)

Some neat special effects can;t cover up the fact that Avatar was simply a blatant plagarism of Pocahontas.

Comparing 2001 to Avatar??? (1)

eternaldoctorwho (2563923) | more than 2 years ago | (#39146513)

What is this I don't even

I have a bad feeling about this. (1)

shadowrat (1069614) | more than 2 years ago | (#39146525)

The concept of best scifi film at the oscars is pretty silly really. Is there an oscar for best world war 2 film? Is there an oscar for best romantic comedy? best horror? no because the academy awards aren't for genre of story, they are for some technical aspect of producing a film. How well can you engage the audience without using english? without using photography? just overall tell a really good story? none of these categories are genre specific.

I'd think that best scifi film would be a horrible thing. First it would segregate scifi as somehow wholly different from every other kind of film. That will probably just reinforce stigmas that it's the realm of nerds and geeks. Second, there is not a good scifi film every year. It would have to pick from films like Transformers. Does anyone really want there to be a record that one year Transformers was the best scifi film?

I would like to see a scifi award show though. One that can give out awards for best overall, most feasible tech, best speculation on what human personality trait technology X would bring out. best laser battle. best zombies. etc.
Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...