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Is 'District 9' cursed at the Oscars?

August 15, 2009 |  8:18 pm

"District 9" has earned some of the best reviews of the year โ€” an impressive score of 81 at Entertainment Weekly calls the film "madly original" and "exciting," Washington Post hails it as "transfixing." "District 9" is also a big box-office smash produced by the emperor of the Oscars, Peter Jackson, whose "Lord of the Rings: Return of the King" (2003) tied the Oscar record (11 trophies) set by "Ben-Hur" (1959) and "Titanic" (1997).

District 9 news 8369150274 story movies

So that means "District 9" should do well at the Academy Awards next, right? Especially since there will be 10 slots in the best-picture race instead of the usual five, correct?

Hmmmm, not so fast, fanboys. Keep in mind that this is sci-fi, a genre that's received little Oscar respect historically. Only two sci-fi flicks have ever been nominated for best picture: "E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial" (1982), "Star Wars" (1977). "E.T." and "Star Wars" are the only two films with Oscar best-picture nominations on Rotten Tomatoes' list of the 20 best-reviewed sci-fi pix of all time. Here's the rundown:

1.) "E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial" (1982)
2.) "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" (2004)
3.) "Metropolis" (1927)
4.) "Alien" (1979)
5.) "Minority Report" (2002)
6.) "The Empire Strikes Back" (1980)
7.) "Children of Men" (2006)
8.) "The Host" (2007)
9.) "Star Wars" (1977)
10.) "Aliens" (1986)

11.) "The Road Warrior" (1981)
12.) "The Bride of Frankenstein" (1935)
13.) "Galaxy Quest" (1999)
14.) "Brazil" (1985)
15.) "The Terminator" (1984)
16.) "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" (1956)
17.) "Solaris" (1972)
18.) "2001: A Space Odyssey" (1968)
19.) "Frankenstein" (1931)
20.) "Mad Max" (1979)

Lastly, "District 9's" Metacritic score of 81 is quite good, yes, but a number of films have scored better this year: "The Hurt Locker" (94), "Ponyo" (89), "Up" (88), "Star Trek" (83), "Drag Me to Hell" (83) and "The Cove" (82). Its score at is higher (88 among all critics, 87 among top critics), but there are many more contenders to spring out of the gate in a derby season that hasn't really yet begun.


'District 9' rated a 10 by critics

Photo: Sony Tristar Pictures

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nor even sure what syfi means what was fiction to science 20 years ago is reality today the beings of interest in this film where not from earth aside from that this is only a revisit of how beings of a minority are treated. add to that a great original way of shooting a film as a documentery / some footage from servalence cams and some real time action makes it amazingly captivating . too bad justanother white guy made it ..the best picture went to hurt locker ..not a bad movie but WTF seen it done it i cant believe im so bugged to even coment on all of this but the people who make d-9 fantastic work and i know there are a lot of folks who KNOW you deserve that stupid award

"A Clockwork Orange" is considered sci-fi??? What exactly about it makes it sci-fi??? Because it's set in the future? If that's the reason, I don't think it's a very good one.

Yes, but in the years that most of those top 20 sci-fi films were released, there were only five nominees.

I'm not a Sci-fi junkie, but I thought this movie was extraordinary. It easily deserves best picture but I don't respect the academy enough to believe they would vote for it.

It's too early to talk about if 'District 9' will be shafted at the Oscars. It's only been out 1 week!

It was filmed in South Africa and New Zealand. So for that reason alone, I wouldn't be surprised if the academy doesn't nominate it.

'District 9' should be nominated before 'Star Trek' (which wasn't that good) should if they both score equally, as an original film that rates equal should always be nominated before something else that's been done before.

It takes more imagination to come up with something from scratch than it does when most of the script info is already there. It's that simple.

But knowing The Academy, they will get that wrong. This is one of the reasons why they have little credibility in their own industry.

If there's a sci-fi nominee I still think it will be Star Trek.

It should win Oscars if only for the sole reason of instructing the American Hollywood establishment how to make an original film. It's not a comic book and it's not a sequel.
It's totally devoid of the campish childish humor that pervades American movies, especially the sci-fi and action genres. If this was an American production there would be countless cultural references, yeehaws, and dumb jokes to try and bring levity. Maybe a break-dancing prawn รก la Transformers.
American films have become dumb across the board from Apatow to action to horror (Halloween 2 again... seriously WTF?)
Bravo Mr. Blomkamp!

Interesting thoughts.

I can still see District 9 being nominated in the Best Picture category, though it probably won't win. Of the other well received movies you mention only the "Hurt Locker" is actually awards material. 2 animations, a documentary, a pop-corn actioner and a genre horror are not Oscar contenders in way, shape or form.

What will be intriguing though is whether or not Blomkamp will be nominated in the director category. He's created a unique vision, and the Academy likes to reward more auteur like helmers with this gong. If he's nominated I have a hunch he'll win.



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