Welcome to the 2018 Awards Profile series, where we talk about films coming to a theater near you at some point this year (at least at this time of writing). We will analyze the potential for these films to be players for the Academy Awards, and while many of these have the potential to be recognized, many will not, either by quality or being pushed back to the following year. For the next few weeks, we will bring you a film every Monday through Friday to talk about their awards hopes and analyze the film’s chances for success. If you have a suggestion, please include it in the comments below. If you missed a film, click on the tag or category Awards Profile.
FILM: “Solo: A Star Wars Story”
PRODUCERS: Simon Emanuel, Kathleen Kennedy, and Allison Shearmur
DISTRIBUTOR: Walt Disney Pictures
DIRECTOR: Ron Howard
WRITERS: Jon Kasdan and Lawrence Kasdan (adapted from characters by George Lucas)
CAST: Alden Ehrenreich, Donald Glover, Emilia Clarke, Woody Harrelson, Paul Bettany, Thandie Newton, and Jon Favreau
SYNOPSIS: During an adventure into a dark criminal underworld, Han Solo meets his future copilot Chewbacca and encounters Lando Calrissian years before joining the Rebellion.
WHY IT MIGHT SUCCEED:
As Joey reported on April 5, “Solo: A Star Wars Story” is making its World Premiere at the
Cannes Film Festival on May 15, prior to its World Premiere later that month on the 25th. This adds an air of prestige to a franchise that to some might be becoming a bit saturated. While “Star Wars” (later retitled “Star Wars: A New Hope”) is still the only chapter in the nine-film saga to be nominated for Best Picture, the series has enjoyed a surplus of technical citations from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science. Racking up a combined 32 nominations, every “Star Wars” installment has been nominated for at least one Oscar (yes, even “Attack of the Clones,” if you can believe that!). The franchise has won seven competitive Oscars as well as two Special Achievement Awards for Visual Effects. However, the last film to win a competitive Oscar was “The Empire Strikes Back” (Sound), and the last Special Achievement Oscar went to “Return of the Jedi.” So while it might not be a likely contender for above the line nominations, we can probably say it’s a relatively safe bet in categories like Sound (seven of the nine nominated), Score (five films nominated), and, of course, Visual Effects (six of the nine films received a nomination here while two received the aforementioned Special Achievement Oscars for this field – leaving only “Revenge of the Sith” without any recognition for its effects).
WHY IT MIGHT NOT SUCCEED:
Aside from any watered-down feelings and genre-bias that play a part in a sci-fi sequel’s chances at receiving Oscar recognition, there are the more alarming and widely-reported
production issues that likely are a harbinger for the film. To recap, the original directors of the film, Phil Lord, and Chris Miller were unceremoniously fired from production last June. There
were rumors about control issues between the directors and producers of the film, as the former wanted to stray a little too far from Lawrence Kasdan’s (who wrote “The Empire Strikes Back” and “The Force Awakens”) script. Previous to that, film editor Chris Dickens was fired and replaced with Pietro Scalia. There were also reports of Alden Ehrenreich, who plays the titular role, needing an acting coach brought in to assist, though the film was already late into production (that last part is the main cause for concern here).
In short, I don’t expect “Solo: A Star Wars Story” to come anywhere close to a Best Picture nomination – or receive a nom in any of the major categories, to be frank – but bet against a Sound and Visual Effects juggernaut like this at your own risk.
POTENTIAL OSCAR CATEGORIES IN PLAY:
- Cinematography – Bradford Young
- Costume Design – David Crossman and Glyn Dillon
- Film Editing – Pietor Scalia (and Chris Dickens)
- Music (Original Score) – John Powell
- Production Design – Neil Lamont
- Makeup and Hairstyling – Amanda Knight and Lisa Tomblin
- Visual Effects – Dominic Tuohy and Vince Abbott
- Sound Editing – Matthew Wood
- Sound Mixing – Stuart Wilson