These Science Fiction Movies Deserved More Oscar Love

With the exception of the occasional Steven Spielberg or George Lucas vehicle, the Academy has had a pretty consistent (if totally unofficial) policy about science fiction films: they can only be nominated in technical categories. Since the number of Best Picture candidates increased in 2009, sci-fi movies (including Avatar, District 9, Gravity, The Martian, and the sci-fi-ish Mad Max: Fury Road) have started finding their way into the race on a more regular basis, but that doesn’t erase the decades of glaring omissions.

For proof of the Academy’s negligence, look no further than this list of eight science fiction favourites that deserved far more Oscar love.

1. The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951)


Mediocre remake notwithstanding, The Day the Earth Stood Still remains one of the most iconic science fiction films of all time—and it didn’t receive a single nomination.

2. Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978)


This masterfully executed remake is one of cinema’s most enduring portraits of justified paranoia. By all indications, most of the enlightened Academy voters were body-snatched that year, as this gem was shut out.

3. The Thing (1982)


This similarly paranoid remake surprised no one when it scored no nominations, as it was a flop upon its original release. However, time has been far kinder—to the film and its remarkable creature effects—than the Academy.

4. Blade Runner


In fairness, the Blade Runner most fans know and love wasn’t in circulation back in 1982, but its technical accomplishments clearly deserved more than two measly nominations.

5. The Truman Show


If ever a science fiction film had a viable shot at Best Picture, it was The Truman Show. Offering prophetic warnings about surveillance and the decline of freedom, this Jim Carrey vehicle landed three prominent nominations, but failed to crack the Best Picture race.

6. Looper


Rian Johnson’s time travel triumph came out of nowhere to become one of 2012’s most acclaimed films, but it was completely ignored by the Academy. Fortunately, Johnson landed a respectable consolation prize: the gig directing Star Wars: Episode VIII.

7. The Empire Strikes Back


Speaking of Star Wars sequels, most fans recognize The Empire Strikes Back as the franchise’s finest hour. The Academy saw things differently, denying this film the many prominent nominations (Best Picture, Best Director, Best Screenplay) of its predecessor.

8. Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan


Like The Empire Strikes Back, Star Trek II had two strikes against it in the Academy’s eyes: it’s science fiction and it’s a sequel. Widely regarded as the best Star Trek movie ever, Khan scored exactly zero nominations.

Nevertheless, do watch the Oscars on CTV February 28. Go Martian and Mad Max!