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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

question of the day: Is there any chance in Hades that ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2’ could get an Oscar nom for Best Picture?

Paul Sheehan at Gold Derby asks, “Can final ‘Harry Potter’ break Oscars curse and reap Best Picture bid?”

Academy Awards voters just haven’t been wild about Harry. The first seven films netted just nine Oscar nominations with no wins. Unlike the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy, which reaped three successive Best Picture bids as well as multiple directing and writing nods, all of the “Harry Potter” Oscar nominations have been below-the-line. The academy’s weekend screening of the picture drew a good-sized crowd who were enthusiastic in their response. However, the recent change in Best Picture voting now requires that all nominees earn at least 5% of the first place votes.

And then he goes on to discuss the Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic scores for each of the Harry Potter films, as well as their box office take. As if any of this had anything to do with the Oscars. (A movie that a lot of critics think is pretty good can end up with the same RT score as a movie that a lot of critics think is the best movie ever made, thanks to the Fresh/Rotten rating scale. MC, with its 100-point scale, allows for some finer gradations, and yet, as Sheehan points out, the widest spread between the RT score and the MC score on any Harry Potter film is only 10 points.)

Similarly, Tom O’Neil at Awards Tracker wonders “Will ‘Harry Potter’ be nominated for best picture at Oscars?”:

“Why not?” asks Pete Hammond at Deadline. “Although the Academy historically shuns this type of film and doesn’t favor fantasy, sci-fi or kid flicks you can point to the ‘Lord of the Rings’ trilogy and say there is an exception to every rule.”

That’s true. The final installment of that franchise, “Return of the King,” ended up winning all of its 11 nominations, thus tying the all-time record set by “Titanic” and “Ben-Hur” as biggest Oscar champ of all time. But the previous two installments were nominated for best picture, and there was a widespread belief that, if those academy geezers denied Hobbit geeks the top prize one more time, the geeks would fling Oscar into the fiery depths of Mount Doom.

As O’Neil points out, Pete Hammond at Deadline and Steve Pond at TheWrap are also asking the same question. And to a one, they’re making this comparison: If The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King could sweep the Oscars, including Best Picture, then why not a Harry Potter film?

This saddens me, because it tells me that even the people who think about movies for a living still don’t get geek stuff. They think that fantasy is fantasy is fantasy: it’s all the same. But this is not true. I’ve mostly liked the Harry Potter movies, and I think the new one is terrific, but they are at a completely different level than the Lord of the Rings movies: a less accomplished, less significant one. Yes, they’ve been fun… but they haven’t been powerful as a whole, even if bits and pieces have been. The LOTR Oscar sweep was rewarding all three films, but there’s no sense that the Harry Potter films as a series deserves that kind of accolade. They’re not the unified vision of a single filmmaker, for one, the way that LOTR was the work of Peter Jackson.

What do you think? Is there any chance in Hades that Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 could get an Oscar nom for Best Picture?

I think it’s so remote a possibility as to be preposterous. I do think that — apart from likely technical nominations — there’s a good chance, depending on how the autumn films go, that Alan Rickman might get a Best Support Actor nomination. If AMPAS wants to honor this film and the series as a whole without embarrasing itself, that would be the way to go.

(If you have a suggestion for a QOTD, feel free to email me. Responses to this QOTD sent by email will be ignored; please post your responses here.)



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