Oscar and Sci-Fi

by Rae Lori

It's been a long time since I've been interested to see who would win the Best Picture Oscar this year. It's also the first year we get not one but two sci-fi movies in the main category! I almost died from shock. Both District 9 and Avatar were up and I have to say it was a long time coming that really awesome SF/F movies get recognized for their achievements in cinema history. SF is mostly shoved off to the side as an adolescent basement boy genre but from the amount of us chicks venturing across conventions, fan groups and message boards, we're proving otherwise.

Two genre directors were also up, Kathryn Bigelow and James Cameron. Both were director/writers who made some of my fave works.

Although it's been awhile since the Sci-Fi Channel changed it's name to SyFy(lis), kicked out any semblance of science fiction programming for cheap horror and added more commercials, I can't help but think about the missed opportunities for all the goodies that should have been showcased especially in the past month alone. Aside from Halloween's good old Universal horror movie themes, this year was the first year they could have celebrated Oscar. AMC, TCM and even Lifetime showed tons of movies that celebrating a month of Oscar winning films, actors and actresses and the SF channel could have gotten in on the fun.

Just for funsies, let's look at the movies they could've broadcasted in celebration.

The Sci-Fi Channel's 30 Days of Oscar

To Celebrate Kathryn Bigelow

Strange Days (Seriously, this is what I consider her Oscar win for because I love this movie SO much)

Near Dark

Blue Steel (Not SF but, hey,we'll let this one slide a bit ;-))

To Celebrate James Cameron

Aliens - Special Edition Version

The Terminator Series

The Abyss

I'm glad Kathryn Bigelow won because her awesome work has been under appreciated for so long and we need more female director/writers behind the helm especially now. Can't wait to see what she releases next!

More reading:
List of all Oscars awarded to SF films
The 10 Worst Scifi Snubs In Oscar History

Rae Lori

Rae's next release is 'Within the Shadows of Mortals' Book 2 in the Ashen Twilight series ~ Coming April 2010


  1. Hey Rae

    That was a good roundup. Never made the connection till now but there's an Alien marathon going on this month on the movie channel in Mauritius!


  2. Great post, Rae! I'd never heard of Strange Days before but now will have to check it out! I didn't understand why critics slammed Kathryn Bigelow either, and was glad to see her get her due.
    Good luck with your upcoming release!

  3. I had no idea she did Strange Days and Near Dark! I love both of those movies. Near Dark was the first movie where I sympathized with the vampires rather than the humans.

  4. I was overjoyed to watch Kathryn Bigelow receive the first Best Director Oscar given to a woman. Not only that, but the Cinematography Oscar went to Mauro Fiore for Sci-Fi blockbuster Avatar - (huh?!?) That really pushes genre flicks onto a new level. One might have always supposed that getting heavy special effects footage to match real-life footage was a challenge of the highest order. Yay, Academy for honoring two groundbreakers.

  5. Z, that's so awesome! I'll have to check and see if there's an Alien marathon on this side of the pond. I love going through 1,2 (my fave) and 4.

    Thanks Cate! Strange Days is hardcore awesome. I remember critics gave her a hard time for being a woman and showing such graphic stuff but she definitely made her point and an impact in the process. Just fyi, there's an HEA at the end of Strange Days even though things seem so dire and Angela Bassett's Mace is one of the most kick butt heroines ever! This is probably my fave Ralph Fiennes role because he's never been so down and dirty and yummy. Hope you enjoy the movie! Please let me know what you think when you see it. :-)

    Jennifer, yup! I finally managed to see Near Dark for the first time the other day and wow! Bigelow knows how to get you involved with her characters with all senses. I'll never forget the vampires in that movie!

    Hear hear Julia and congrats to Mauro for the win! Avatar had some gorgeous cinematography indeed. Good to see genre flicks and artists get their recognition!

  6. oh, 2 movies I'm now salivating to see - Strange Days and Near Dark. Thanks for the insight! Loved your post!

  7. Great post, Rae! Fabulous that Kathryn won, and that Avatar was recognized.

    I have to admit that while I was a sci-fi fan as a kid, the genre changed and became much too bloody. I enjoyed the Terminator series, but won't watch any of the Alien movies or anything that focuses so heavily on doom and gore.

    ST:NG, definitely, because it reflected the early values of sci-fi when it first appeared. Even though there were monsters in some (Jules Verne) the focus was always on speculation. Topics we might actually want to daydream about.

    What if...?

    You couldn't afford a real vacation to Mars but could download memories into your brain? (We Can Remember It For You Wholesale--Phillip K. Dick)

    A human baby, left on Mars after the four astronauts sent there die, is raised by martians? (Stranger in a Strange Land--Robert Heinlein).

    The first volume of the Science Fiction Hall of Fame is just freaking amazing. So many stories that make you think, speculate, daydream. Even the original story "Mimsy Were the Borogoves" written by Lewis Padgett/Henry Kuttner, the story "The Last Mimzy" was based on (and side note-the story is darker, profound and very provocative).

    That's what makes Avatar such a spectacular achievement too. Seems like it hearkens back to a time when sci-fi was a blend of speculation and philosophy.

    I really wish I could handle the gore and terror that seems to dominate the genre now instead of yearning for those incredible stories that were much more like Star Trek: Next Generation (remember the one where Picard lived another man's life--great example of early sci-fi).

    Thanks for letting me share and vent a little! *rueful grin*


  8. Fun post! I've always thought that the Oscars should have a separate category for Comedies - because comedies always get shortchanged and some of our fave all times movies are comedies - but I think more and more perhaps there should be a sci-fi category as well. Then an overall best picture category - ah, if only I ruled Hollywood. ;)


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