Oscar Preview: Weekend of Mar. 17-19, 2017

We had one films release this past weekend with the potential for Oscar nominations.

Life

What can the original Alien tell us about space-faring dramas with a horror slant? They can tell us a lot, but Oscar’s affinity for them has waned a bit since Ridley Scott brought his storied creature feature to the big screen in 1979. Then, the film was nominated for just two Oscars: Best Art Direction and Best Visual Effects, earning H.R. Giger and company the award for art direction. These days, it’s much tougher for such films to break through.

The big question is how much of a horror film is this versus a regular sci-fi drama? Those have been much more in Oscar favor of late since District 9 broke the Best Picture logjam seven years ago. Life sports an international cast headlined by Ryan Reynolds and Oscar nominee Jake Gyllenhaal. Their presence adds more weight now than they might have a few years ago when neither was producing weighty dramas or acclaimed superhero films.

Early reviews suggest a film that prizes human relationships about scares, which may give the film an advantage in the Oscar race, but not much of one. It’s March and few, if any, films of this type that release so early in the year make many inroads with Oscar voters. Isolating itself to the craft categories where artists are more full-year minded, the film is sure to make a case for consideration in Sound Mixing, Sound Editing, and Visual Effects, but there will be massive competition this year, which means it may ultimately go unheralded.

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