Oscar-Worthy but Ignored Part 3: Sci-Fi
I have read that science fiction is a hard genre to define due to how broad of a spectrum the movies can be. I think that is crap. I think most science fiction can be boiled down to “Any movie that examines the existence of advanced technology and ideas and the consequences of those advancements.” In science fiction, everything new thing comes at a price, and apparently, so does being a part of the genre. Some of the smartest, greatest, most interesting movies are pieces of science fiction, but I suppose when Santa Claus vs The Martian is counted among your peers, it’s hard to get just attention. That is why Odin gave geeks the internet, so we can be the grand deciders.
Best Screenplay – The Matrix
The Matrix is a mix of ideas that have been seen in science fiction before. Human farming. Alternate realities. Robot uprising. The technological singularity. It uses all of this to suit The Wachowski’s action movie goals. That said it is intertwined with musings on philosophy, religion, and identity. It is something that action movies rarely tackle. The Matrix waxes poetic with a fantastic screenplay but still delivers on the spectacle.
Best Supportong Actress – Samantha Morton in Minority Report
Samantha Morton is one of the best yet criminally underrated actresses working today. She has been nominated for an Oscar twice, but between those performances she starred in the Spielberg/Cruise action sci-fi Minority Report. She plays the emotional lynchpin of an action movie that is already emotionally charged. Morton almost works as a depression battery. She absorbs it from the scenes that would be hampered by it and then releases it in scenes that would flounder without it.
Best Supproting Actor – Rutger Hauer in Blade Runner
When you scroll down to Best Picture, you will see I didn’t choose Blade Runner. This is only because the horrible theatrical cut would have been the once eligible for it and only the Final Cut should be considered for Best Picture. In any cut of the film, Hauer is still the same badass villain. He plays a robot who is afraid of his programmed obsolescence, the robot version of death. And over the course of the movie, it is kind of hard to tell that he is. He is a robot and as such he is calm and collected, but that feeling of self-preservation is always there motivating his actions leading up to an incredibly heartfelt good-bye speech. He is the shark in Jaws meets Hans Landa from Inglourious Basterds.
Best Actress – Sigourney Weaver in Alien and Aliens
Sigourney Weaver’s Ripley character is the epitome of balanced performance. In either movie, she never sacrifices her femininity to be a badass action hero. She can be confident and brave without being a tomboy. In fact, her femininity is what usually drives her character. In the first movie, she was motivated to prove herself beyond the young, nubile girl they all see. In the second, her maternal instincts take over allowing her to be beaten, bruised, and absolutely frightened, yet still strong and brave in the face of danger. Linda Hamilton in The Terminator movies is a close second.
Best Actor – Sam Rockwell in Moon
Sam Rockwell is without a doubt the most underappreciated acting talent in Hollywood today. His character, Sam Bell, is just another fine performance in an already impressive resume. Rockwell has more screen presence and charisma to turn even the lowliest character into a likable guy. Some of the work is already done for him as the material depicts Sam as an every -man. As such Sam ventures through a number of emotions most of which is either anger or depression, all of which Rockwell invites the audience to feel the same way. Practically the only actor in the movie, the emotional weight rest assuredly on his shoulders. Rockwell also of course plays two variations of the same character who interact with each other. That alone is a difficult thing for actors to do, yet Rockwell performs admirably going above and beyond all expectations.
Best Picture – Terminator 2: Judgment Day
Terminator 2 won the first MTV Movie Award Best Movie. I remember a time when people said they would be the anti-Oscars giving the award to the true crowd pleasers, ya know, the movies people really wanted to see. First of all, Silence of the Lambs won the year it was eligible and rightfully so. Lastly, when Twilight beats Batman, you totally lose faith in that distinction anyway. Terminator 2 might be a weird choice considering how ‘splodey and action packed it is, but at the heart of Terminator 2 is an amazing science fiction tale. It embraces outlandish scientist advancement like time travel and robot uprisings, but there is also this really touching story of a rebellious child and a cold killer robot who learn the meaning of life together. Neither of them might be considered to give a GREAT performance, but together their chemistry is amazing. Watching over them is the emotionally broken maternal figure who is second only to Weaver in Alien/s. Plus, the action is top notch and that should amount for something.