J.J. Abrams' Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens has quickly become a box office juggernaut, topping the all-time domestic record previously set by James Cameron's Avatar. In addition to commercial prowess, the film is something of a critical darling. The Force Awakens ranks as the most acclaimed series installment since 1980's The Empire Strikes Back (read our review), and has even been recognized by some awards groups like the American Film Institute and the Critics' Choice Awards.
With Star Wars 7 earning universally positive reviews and emerging as an outright phenomenon, some moviegoers are wondering how it will be represented at this year's Oscars ceremony. While Abrams isn't making any guarantees about possible Academy Awards, he's certainly hoping members of his team get the recognition they deserve when nominations are announced January 14, 2016.
Speaking at the winter Television Critics Association tour (hat tip Comic Book Movie) to promote Hulu's upcoming series 11.22.63, Abrams was asked if he felt The Force Awakens should be considered for various Oscars. The director said that he doesn't need further validation personally now that the film is well-liked by many, but he's rooting for many of his crew to receive a nod or two:
"There are certain people that I know deserve it definitely and it would be wonderful if they got it. I feel like the gift of working on that film is such that I don’t need any further validation than the movie being out there and people liking the movie. There are people that I will be disappointed if they don’t get nominated because I think that the work they did was really exemplary."
Abrams would not say who specifically is most deserving of a nomination, joking that if he mentioned eight names, "the ninth person would be like, 'Thanks'." However, it's easy for fans to predict where the film might gain traction with the Academy. As a massive blockbuster, The Force Awakens is all but a lock for a number of technical categories, such as visual effects, sound editing, production design, and sound mixing. It also wouldn't be surprising if legendary composer John Williams receives a nomination for his original score. Williams is an Academy favorite who has been nominated 49 times before, with 5 wins.
The bigger question is whether or not Star Wars 7 can muster a Best Picture nomination. The awards circuit has been kind to some high-profile films of 2015, with Mad Max: Fury Road and The Martian being honored by a number of organizations. The Force Awakens has popped up on a few of those lists, but it missed a crucial mention from the Producers Guild of America, which historically has a strong track record with predicting the Oscar nominations. It's true that each awards body has its own set of tastes, but once the guilds start weighing in, there are a lot of similarities between the lists.
While it would be nice if Star Wars 7 could earn one of 10 possible Best Picture spots, it isn't a necessity to firmly establish The Force Awakens as one of 2015's best and most memorable movies. After all, many fans consider The Empire Strikes Back to be stronger than the original film, but A New Hope is the only film from the franchise to score a Best Picture nod. Regardless of how the Academy sees The Force Awakens, the film has legions of supporters who can't wait to see where the story goes from here. For Abrams and Star Wars fans everywhere, that's the best victory they could have hoped for.
Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens is now in theaters, followed by Rogue One: A Star Wars Story on December 16th, 2016, Star Wars: Episode VIII on May 26th, 2017, and the Han SoloStar Wars Anthology film on May 25th, 2018. Star Wars: Episode IX is expected to reach theaters in 2019, followed by the third Star Wars Anthology film in 2020.
Source: Comic Book Movie