“Guardians of the Galaxy”: What’s Up with the 2015 Awards Race

Guardians of the Galaxy 600x223
Directed by: James Gunn
Written by: James Gunn and Nicole Perlman
Main Cast: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Vin Diesel (voice), Bradley Cooper (voice), Dave Bautista, Lee Pace, Michael Rooker, John C. Reilly, Glenn Close, Benicio del Toro, Karen Gillan, Djimon Hounsou, Josh Brolin (voice), and more…
Past Oscar relations: Benecio del Toro won Best Supporting Actor for Traffic and the quintet of Josh Brolin, Glenn Close, Bradley Cooper, Djimon Hounsou, and John C. Reilly are all past Academy Award nominees

Folks, here now is a brand spanking new article in this particular ongoing series of mine on 2014 releases hoping to compete for some kind of notable Oscar attention as awards contenders at the upcoming 2015 ceremony. Next up for us here in the series is the Marvel science fiction/superhero epic Guardians of the Galaxy, which is the latest gamble on the part of the studio. If it manages to have crossover appeal between audiences and critics (which so far it has), then there’s some mild potential for it to appeal to the Academy in one way or another.

Obviously, superhero films have a tough time with Oscar, and this is in some ways the hardest sell yet. It’s a humorous sci-fi blockbuster that feels almost more like a joke than a true Marvel outing. At the same time though, it’s just so different that it could appeal to younger voters in a bigger way than usual. James Gunn has certainly made a love letter to Star Wars in a way, and Chris Pratt is cementing himself as an A-list star here. Factor in Bradley Cooper’s scene stealing voice work, and this is the type of movie that stands out from the pack.

What this flick has going in its favor is just how enjoyable it is and how it’s a throwback to the days of Star Wars. It’s almost impossible not to get lost in the sheer summer movie pleasure of this one. Guardians of the Galaxy is so much fun, you barely stop to realize just how well crafted it is. Gunn’s script that he co-wrote with Nicole Pearlman has a ton of heart and the special effects are absolutely top notch. There’s very little not to like here, so if voters give it a fair chance, at least in the technical categories, it deserves a ton of consideration, namely with Best Visual Effects.

Working against Guardians of the Galaxy is that it’s still a summer popcorn movie. If Marvel couldn’t get the Academy to bite with Iron Man or The Avengers, what chance do they have here? Especially when Captain America: The Winter Soldier stands out more as a “film” this year, I can’t imagine that Oscar will look to it at all in any of the big categories. The techs? Yes, but anything more than that is likely a huge long shot.

So, can this blockbuster be a player at all? Outside of the techs, it doesn’t seem very likely, but within them, this is definitely a contender for a nomination or two. Both of the big sound tech categories (Best Sound Editing and Best Sound Mixing) as well as the aforementioned Visual Effects field are places where nods could be had. As for turning those noms into wins? Don’t necessarily hold your breath there. Regardless of that though, Guardians of the Galaxy is an absolute blast and deserves to be seen. Any awards love would just be icing on the cake for this one. Marvel has done it yet again folks…

Grade: Potential Contender (just in the technical categories mentioned above though)

Stay tuned for another one of these profiles coming your way next week!

About Joey Magidson

A graduate of Stony Brook University (where he studied Cinema and Cultural Studies), resides in Brooklyn, New York. He contributes to several other film-related websites and is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

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