Walt Disney Pictures has added Star Wars: The Last Jedi to their For Your Consideration page, illustrating they will be pushing Lucasfilm's latest blockbuster in all major categories. During the early part of this awards season, Episode VIII has been notably absent from nominations, missing nods from the National Board of Review, American Film Institute, and others. However, this had nothing to do with the quality of the film. The Last Jedi being "snubbed" so far was a byproduct of the fact it had not been screened for critics until this past Saturday, December 9. As a result, several deadlines for ballots had passed before anyone outside Lucasfilm saw it.
Now, however, the story has dramatically changed. Immediate reactions after The Last Jedi's premiere were overwhelmingly positive, with several people offering high amounts of praise for writer/director Rian Johnson. That buzz all but guarantees the newest Star Wars installment will score an astronomical opening weekend at the box office when it opens on December 15, but its awards prospects are more up in the air. The studio is definitely confident in it, though, putting together an extensive campaign.
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Disney's Guild Awards 2017 site has been updated to include a listing for Star Wars 8, asking for voters' consideration in every category it would be eligible in. This, of course, includes Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Adapted Screenplay, as well as all of the principal cast members. Daisy Ridley is being campaigned in Best Actress, while Mark Hamill is the lone star under Best Actor (meaning his role is probably leading, barring category fraud). Unexpectedly, Disney will be looking for some love in the technical fields, such as Visual Effects, Production Design, Sound Mixing/Editing, and Cinematography. Big-budget blockbusters like Star Wars are tailor-made for these nominations, and The Last Jedi should be a shoo-in to do well in the below-the-line categories.
It is worth keeping in mind that this is just standard business practice in the industry. Every major film on a studio's slate gets some kind of awards campaign. Disney is also pushing Marvel hits Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 and Thor: Ragnarok, neither of which are making much noise on the Oscar circuit. This development doesn't necessarily mean The Last Jedi is going to emerge as a dark horse that'll shake things up in the race, though there is an outside chance. Since expanding the Best Picture lineup in 2009, the Academy has recognized several sci-fi pictures with prestigious nominations (Avatar, Inception, Her, Mad: Max Fury Road), so it's possible The Last Jedi can join those ranks. Guillermo del Toro's The Shape of Water seems to have a stranglehold on title of "token genre film nominee" this year, though there's occasionally room for two or more.
What matters most to Star Wars fans is that The Last Jedi is a thrillingly emotional chapter in the Skywalker saga (which, by all accounts, it is), but it would be fun for viewers to see the galaxy far, far away emerge as a player in a wide-open Oscar season. J.J. Abrams previously said Mark Hamill's performance as Luke was awards-worthy, and there have been many raves for the late, great Carrie Fisher's stirring sendoff. It'll be interesting to see how well The Last Jedi does in terms of accolades since franchise films usually have an uphill climb in terms of getting attention. If any movie can do it, though, it's Star Wars. Forty years ago, the original film went head-to-head with eventual winner Annie Hall, so the Academy has a soft spot for the Force.
Source: Disney Guild Awards
- Star Wars 8/Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017) release date: Dec 15, 2017
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: Episode IX (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019
- Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) release date: May 25, 2018