Normally you have to be some kind of big shot—or perhaps familiar in the art of bit torrent downloading, which we are not—to get an Academy Awards screener. But today, everyone has the opportunity to go to their local Best Buy or Blockbuster (these places still exist!) and pick up a copy of not one, but two of the potential Best Picture nominees next March: Pixar’s Up and the just released Star Trek.
Don’t laugh: the field of nominees seems to have been expanded to 10 for the express purpose of allowing these mainstream movies into the party. However, while you’ve most certainly heard rumblings of an Oscar campaign for Up—Disney is already running “For Your Consideration” ads in Variety—the Oscar buzz on J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek has been decidedly muted. And to that we say: why? Under no metric should Up be considered any more viable than Star Trek as a Best Picture nominee. It seems the only thing holding Star Trek back is the perception that it is somehow a less legitimate contender. Well, allow us to throw dirt in the face of that notion. The Oscar campaign for Star Trek starts right here!
The critics loved Star Trek, too!
Disney is fond of calling Up the “best reviewed movie of the year.” True story! Up has a 98 percent Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, meaning it ranks alongside The Hurt Locker as the best widely reviewed movie of 2009 thus far. But Star Trek‘s 95 percent rating is nothing to sneeze at either. And did you know that Star Trek actually has more positive notices than any other movie released in 2009 (260 positives reviews to Up‘s 241)? Whether or not critics hedged when reviewing Star Trek—many reviewers seem fond of taking the “it succeeded in what it set out to accomplish” track for summer blockbusters—is irrelevant. Couldn’t you see Paramount unleashing an ad campaign calling Star Trek the “film more critics loved than anything else?” At the very least, it has the added bonus of being truthful.
It wouldn’t be the first entertaining blockbuster to get a nomination!
Rocky. Jaws. The Towering Inferno. Star Wars. Raiders of the Lost Ark. The Fugitive. Gladiator. Just because The Dark Knight wasn’t nominated for Best Picture doesn’t actually mean that the Academy wholesale ignores beloved blockbusters. There is precedent for Star Trek to get a nomination, and not just because it was basically a rip-off of Star Wars.
When you think about it, Star Trek isn’t any sillier than Up!
Sure, Star Trek featured such ridiculous things as Romulans, red matter, a time-traveling Spock and Tyler Perry in a reasonless cameo appearance. However, did everyone forget the premise of Up: that an old man uses thousands of balloons to fly his house to a distant fantasy land inhabited by talking dogs and giant, possibly gender-bending, birds? This is to take nothing away from the beauty that was Up, but more to illustrate that when it comes to Oscar movies, believability doesn’t matter a whole bunch. Call us old fashioned, but championing one of these and not the other seems slightly disingenuous. Here’s hoping there’s room for both come nomination time.