It seems our best actors are diving headfirst into the sci-fi genre of late, likely because it’s the only cinematic arena left with any substance. But Christopher Nolan’s upcoming sci-fi epic “Interstellar” has more than just substance and may shake the foundations of what we’ve ever seen on the big screen. As well, it arguably doesn’t get better than combining Matthew McConaughey with Oscar-winner Anne Hathaway in the cast for a combination of cerebral ideas and excellent acting.
Can the above two ideas finally coalesce into something that wins over the voting academy at the Oscars? It seems the Oscars are on the cusp of finally showering their awards on just the perfect sci-fi movie that intertwines science with the world around us. If “2001: A Space Odyssey” couldn’t quite convince the Oscars, or “District 9”, or “Avatar”, having humans dealing with alternate dimensions and complicated time travel might.
The reason “Interstellar” has potential to be the first Oscar best picture winner is because the science may directly affect real perceptions. In other words, it may finally be a sci-fi movie that uses real information to change the world rather than creating something that doesn’t exist. Seeing Anne Hathaway emotions within that context (assuming she has emotions here) sounds like a powerful mix.
Why that hasn’t been done before in sci-fi is a bit of a mystery. It was likely due to the rules of sci-fi being stuck in living up to the name of its genre title to appease fans. No doubt there’s also been a fear that making a movie with real science would lose the interest of Oscar voting members, let alone regular moviegoers.
Coming from Christopher Nolan, it seems impossible a movie about the perceptions of wormholes wouldn’t be done in a compelling way that promotes rapt attention. It’s the only way for a sci-fi movie to finally cross the proverbial line from Oscar nomination to win. Or, it could take more of a social lesson from upcoming “Elysium” with Matt Damon and Jodie Foster.
Could it ultimately come down to the battle of the sci-fi epics at the Oscars by the 2014 or 2015 ceremonies? “Elysium” will be out long before “Interstellar”, though could help kick off an Oscar renaissance in sci-fi, merely by being a new twist on a Charles Dickens novel. The economic dichotomy in “Elysium” is one that still has potential to resonate, and it’s clear Neil Blomkamp’s recurring sci-fi philosophy is on that particular train.
It’s too bad “Elysium” and “Interstellar” wouldn’t be able to lock horns for an epic best picture fight. Even if “Elysium” is passed over for major Oscar consideration, it’s hard to imagine any movie more powerful than “Interstellar” will be in its vision, production values, and potentials in acting. Sci-fi movies after it may have to change to a new philosophy of not always having to be about unbelievable aliens and unlikely post-apocalyptic visions.
Once sci-fi movies finally break the Oscar best picture barrier, it’s time for comedies to start winning best picture again. Perhaps the only way is to consolidate winning genres so moviegoers finally get a new, successful sci-fi comedy without re-hiring Mel Brooks to do the work.