We don't see sci-fi movies at the Oscars as often as we like, but over the years some amazing sci-fi flicks have received the recognition they deserved.
That's right, its that time of the year again when celebrities and creative luminaries dust off their tuxedos or ball gowns to join the pomp and pageantry that is the Academy Award Ceremony.
Sunday, March 27, 2022 is the date set for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences 94th edition of this gala event that recognizes outstanding achievements from Hollywoods finest actors, directors, screenwriters, editors, composers, producers, cinematographers, costumers, special effects gurus, and sound technicians. The ultimate reward for victory is the iconic golden Oscar statue, recognition of excellence, and the admiration (or envy) from your peers.
Science fiction has had a sticky relationship with the Oscars over the decades, often regarded as low-brow, B-movie fare until Stanley Kubricks existential masterpiece 2001: A Space Odyssey shattered perceptions back in 1968. Then in 1977, George Lucas launched his Star Wars empire that solidified the genre as extremely profitable and ultimately worthy of respect. Even so, only the best sci-fi movies have a chance of winning big at the Oscars.
Over the past few decades there have been many notable winners based on speculative fiction material, whether that's realistic space movies or full-blown sci-fi, but which are the best of the best? Lets walk down the red carpet and salute the 10 Most Successful Sci-Fi Movies In Oscar History.
James Cameron never wanted to imitate Ridley Scotts stylish original Alien film and instead went for a gung-ho combat film filled with old-school war movie tropes and a blistering pace that grabs you by the jugular. Colonial Marines are sent back to the hostile planetoid LV-426 to investigate the lost terraforming colony known as Hadleys Hope.
The bug hunt begins as soon as boots are on the ground and never ends until Ripleys final epic confrontation with the menacing Alien Queen back aboard the U.S.S. Sulaco troop transport spaceship. If you want to watch this absolute gem, check out our Alien streaming guide.
Life finds a way, as seen in the first movie that spawned a billion-dollar dinosaur franchise. Featuring an exotic island theme park populated with cloned biological attractions, Jurassic Park was a multi-generational crowd-pleaser adapted from author Michael Crichtons best-selling novel of the same name.
Whats most shocking about Spielbergs epic sci-fi adventure is how well the computer-generated dinosaurs hold up after nearly 30 years, which is a testament to the team at Industrial Light and Magic. And kudos to Stan Winston and his team for elevating practical effects to another dimension with their full-size articulated monsters inflicting true terror on viewers. Even after four sequels and a fifth on its way, the original is by far still the best.
Watch Jurassic Park on HBO Max
Afrofuturism takes center stage in this mega-successful Marvel movie chronicling the rise of TChalla, the charismatic king of the secret techno kingdom of Wakanda and its exploitation to acquire the rare exotic metal called Vibranium. Its a gorgeous movie in every respect and its pounding tribal soundtrack allows for complete immersion into its imaginary comic book world.
Chadwick Boseman delivers a standout performance as the titular superhero and his untimely passing in 2020 was mourned by fans worldwide. A highly-anticipated sequel, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, arrives in November of 2022 without Boseman or the character being recast. If you want to revisit Wakanda and relive the magic, check out our Marvel streaming guide.
Watch Black Panther on Disney Plus
Welcome to the wondrous planet of Pandora, where peaceful native inhabitants called the Navi are trying to protect their sacred land from a greedy interstellar corporation bent on destruction and domination. The corporation is trying to mine the rare mineral Unobtainium, which we're pretty sure was a placeholder name that got left in the script. Despite that, Camerons lush worldbuilding and inspiring tale of a paraplegic named Jake Sully who enters an artificial body to act as a liaison between the two cultures enthralled audiences to elevate the film to the number one spot on the all-time box office list.
Its soaring visuals and vibrant biomes captured the hearts and imaginations of sci-fi fans worldwide who are now eagerly awaiting the first of three planned sequels this December.
Watch Avatar on Disney Plus
Just like he told you in 1984s Terminator, Arnolds T-800 assassin robot is back for this blockbuster follow-up that most fans and critics feel was the high-water mark for the franchise.
This version of the indefatigable killing machine has returned to protect Sarah Connor and her future resistance leader son, John, instead of trying to murder them. But a shape-shifting liquid metal upgrade called a T-1000 played to chilling perfection by Robert Patrick is out to reshape the future. Like Camerons macho xenomorph hunting mission in Aliens, this Hollywood tentpole is a juggernaut of stunning action set pieces and humanistic pathos. Box office receipts topped $500 million for a theatrical slam-dunk that would inspire four more sequels of diminishing merit.
Is the totem still twirling? Nolans mind-bending tale of a dream insertion team attempting to plant a notion into a billionaire CEOs brain is slightly confusing but nonetheless an exhilarating ride. It's a great example of a well-executed concept using all the tricks of the cinematic trade. Composer Hans Zimmers original score is both brilliant and bombastic and adds another gem to his body of work with Nolan that included Batman Begins and The Dark Knight.
You might get lost in the movies multi-level dreamscapes but youll emerge in the end having experienced something totally fresh and fulfilling, even if you cant explain every last trippy detail.
Watch Inception on HBO Max
The beloved movie that immortalized Reeses Pieces candy was initially titled A Boys Life and began as a much darker coming-of-age movie. When a squat little alien is stranded on Earth hes discovered by a young boy who befriends the strange creature and welcomes him into his familys suburban California household. But nefarious government agents are on E.T.s trail while his new allies attempt to keep him safe and find a way to signal his kind so he can go back to his alien world.
Special effects master Carlo Rambaldi and his crew created the $1.5 million puppet that made audiences believe and brought the gentle alien to life. This magical film celebrates its 40th birthday in June.
The post-apocalyptic wastelands of Earth never looked so cool as in director George Millers reboot of Mad Max, the 1979 classic starring Mel Gibson. This gritty resurrection of the burned-out former Main Force Police officer is a visual feast of savage freaks, antihero saviors, tragic villains, and souped-up battle wagons. Tom Hardy as Max Rockatansky and Charlize Therons Imperator Furiosa made for a formidable couple with searing chemistry up against the evil Immortal Joe.
Its all a high-octane, adrenalized thrill ride punctuated by flaming guitars and the driving techno score by Junkie XL. A masterful, modern day fable for unsettling times.
Watch Mad Max: Fury Road on HBO Max
Sweeping outer space vistas combined with a gripping story of astronaut survival made Gravity the must-see movie of 2013 and it was amply rewarded when it came to Academy Awards time. Sandra Bullock and George Clooney portray shuttle crew members who must use their wits and training while attempting to save themselves and return to Earth after space debris destroys their craft.
Though perceived as slightly over-rated in the past decade, its jaw-dropping visuals from cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki remain inspiring and revelatory. Its detailed plot reinforces the irrefutable fact that outer space is a cold, unforgiving environment.
The original space opera that launched a $70 billion empire was a big winner on Oscar night in 1978, including a rare Special Achievement statue for engineer Ben Burtt who created sound effects for the droids, spaceships, blasters, and lightsabers.
It's a rousing space spectacle about an ambitious farm boy from the planet Tatooine and his mentor Obi-Wan Kenobi going to save a princess from the clutches of the Empire and its evil overlord Darth Vader. Along the way, he enlists the help of a handsome smuggler and his walking carpet Wookie companion. Star Wars is a sci-fi icon that still feels amazingly fresh as we celebrate its 45th anniversary in May.
Watch Star Wars on Disney Plus
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