Will the Academy ever warm to “The Hunger Games” franchise?

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Usually, a blockbuster science fiction series with an appeal across the board and strong critical reviews will show up at least somewhere at the Academy Awards. So far though, the two films in The Hunger Games franchise (with the third/next to last one out this weekend) have yet to receive a single Oscar nomination. That’s including Best Original Song, where they always have A list talent contributing music, and all of the technical categories. That’s insane to me. With The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 hoping to reverse that trend, but probably unlikely, I got to thinking about the possibility that voters could be waiting for the franchise to end before they honor it…

What I mean by that above statement is that it’s possible they pull a version of what they did with The Lord of the Rings franchise. Essentially, instead of nominating the movies a bunch and just giving it all the wins, they could shut out all the prior versions and then go all in with some citations when things wrap up. It’s not an incredibly likely scenario, but if have closure does anything for them, it’ll help give that last installment a leg up on the other films in the series. At the very least, it’s an interesting theory to consider a bit.

If, for example, the voters decided to finally embrace one of these movies, they’d have a ton of places to consider it in. Best Picture obviously is a long shot, though I could make the case that Jennifer Lawrence usually deserves Best Actress consideration to go along with Elizabeth Banks in Best Supporting Actress. The techs though are where it could shine. Best Production Design, Best Film Editing, Best Makeup & Hairstyling, Best Sound Editing, Best Sound Mixing, Best Original Song, and Best Visual Effects are all places where it deserves consideration.

That being said, it’s very likely that the entire franchise could wind up shut out completely. For some reason, this gets lumped in for the most part with every other YA or Young Adult production. It’s the same affliction that could prevent Shailene Woodley from being cited for The Fault in Our Stars (or that script from truly competing for a Best Adapted Screenplay nomination). Voters don’t feel the need to go out of their way for this sci-fi blockbuster when there are multiple superhero films (mainly from Marvel), period war epics, and other large scale movies to choose from. For some reason, Academy members seem to believe that each Hunger Games flick has been beneath them.

Gun to my head, I think that The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 has a small chance of being cited, but most likely it’ll suffer the same fate as all of the others. We don’t know how that final film will be, quality wise, but it’s a shame that an entire franchise has basically been given the short straw. I’m not especially passionate about this issue, but it does strike me as strange. It’s the sort of thing that would help with ratings to some degree, so why not at least give it the consideration it deserves?

The Hunger Games hasn’t been able to get the respect of the Academy so far, but they’ve gotten the respect of critics and the masses, so that’s certainly something. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 is very solid and well worth seeing, so fans of the series won’t be disappointed one bit. As long as you don’t have your heart set on long shot Oscar citations, everything should be coming up roses for you.

Stay tuned to see how the franchise winds up doing with Oscar when all is said and done!

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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