Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Harry Potter and the Elusive Oscar

There's one last thing that I need to say about Harry Potter before we move on to other cinematic ponderings. It has to do with the Sasha Stone article I mentioned in my reflections piece, the one about the Oscar chances for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Pt. 2. In the article Stone spends a bit of time blasting the new Best Picture voting system (perfectly understandable, though I don't think it's quite as cataclysmic as she makes it sound), and then wonders if DH2 really has a chance at nabbing a "let's honor the whole series" Best Picture nomination. Stone makes some really interesting points, especially about the very important role that financial success plays in snagging Best Picture and how Oscar voters do have a degree of genre-phobia (action, sci-fi, horror, etc.).

However, I have disagree that DH2 has much of chance at a nomination. For one thing, though it is one of the best-reviewed films of the year so far (it tops my list), it hasn't necessarily had much competition. With the fall bringing more traditional Oscar-bait projects (not mention promising-sounding), DH2 will likely be forgotten by many voters. For another, in the new system you absolutely must have number-one votes, and DH2 is not a film that will top many lists. Sure, we may remember it as one of the year's best, but will it be among THE best? Of course, this is early speculation, but I just don't see it lasting through the grueling Oscar season.

There's also the matter of the fact that none of the other Potter films have been nominated for Best Picture. Last year, Toy Story 3 became the first part-three of a series to be nominated without the other entries doing so; that's the latest in a series to be nominated. HP2 is part eight. In fact, the Potter franchise has only racked up nine nominations TOTAL, with no wins. Three of those nominations were for Stuart Craig and Stephanie McMillan's art direction, and two for John William's scores. The franchise has no nominations in acting, writing, directing, editing, or, obviously, picture. That history is going to be a tall task to overcome.

So what do I make of this "honoring the series" bit? I think that DH2 will earn a handful more nominations than usual, particularly for Visual Effects, Sound Editing/Mixing, and perhaps even Cinematography (it deserves a nomination there), and perhaps even the series only win, for Art Direction; they really like Stuart Craig, so that seems most likely, to say nothing of the genuinely impressive work he and McMillan did in destroying Hogwarts. But a Best Picture nomination? I wouldn't rule it out completely, but I'd say at this point it looks extremely unlikely.


Walter L. Hollmann said...

Agreed. I think the Art Direction win is going to be the salute to the series, but this Best Pic speculation is a buncha nuthin'.

Squasher88 said...

I also agree. There is no way this will get 5% of 1st place votes. I am predicting nominations for Art Direction and Visual Effects.