For the first time in Oscar history, a video game is eligible for an Academy Award, specifically the recently-released game Everything. For an award show entering its 90th celebration, the Oscars have been awarding a lot of firsts in recent years. In 2010, Kathryn Bigelow became the first female filmmaker to win Best Director for The Hurt Locker. Last year, virtual reality film Pearl was nominated for Best Animated Short, plus ESPN miniseries OJ: Made in America became the first made-for-TV program to win Best Documentary.
Everything was created by David O’Reilly and released on the PlayStation 4 on March 21. The game is simulation based, where the player has the ability to control as many various objects in the universe as possible. This means that the player occupies items of all shapes and sizes, everything from sub-atomic particles to giant land masses. There is even a chance to play as poop if you desire. The goal of the game is to occupy as many objects as possible, filling up your encyclopedia and venturing beyond the material world.
Video games now have their own official crossover in the running for an Academy Award. According to Waypoint, it was sneakily announced at Austria’s short film festival VIS Vienna Shorts that the game Everything made the long-list of possible Oscar nominees in the Best Animated Short category.
Everything was declared the winner of the Jury Prize for Animation at the Festival, which makes the video eligible in the category. The jurors deemed Everything as a film that “serves a highly educational purpose, including an important political statement, that encourages to let our egos dissolve and gain a new perspective on the world.”
It is unclear how Everything was presented at the festival. The gameplay trailer is available on YouTube, a 10-minute exercise in artistic existentialism that showcases the unique appeal of the game. It is also possible that a short film was shown using cut-scenes or the auto-gameplay feature, a mode where the gamer can watch the game play itself and reflect. What is clear is that this is an unprecedented and surprising victory for those who argue that video games are as much “art” as other forms of entertainment.
Everything may not ever make it off the long-list, as the categories are narrowed down significantly in the foreseeable future to eliminate some of the less-than-stellar choices. From what can be seen from the gameplay trailer, however, it won’t be a huge surprise if Everything does make it further into the nomination pool. With its take on philosophy and beautiful imagery, it almost resembles a computer-generated tribute to the work of Terence Malick, a filmmaker that the Academy has rewarded in the past.
If you would like to play the game that’s creating this buzz, Everything is available now for PS4 and PC now. Keep checking Screen Rant for any updates on its Oscar candidacy.