With the Oscars done, we close down our Movie Smackdown poll about what was the Best Sci-Fi Film of 2009. It was a good year for sci-fi respect in that two of the ten Academy-nominated films for Best Picture were sci-fi and one of them, "Avatar," is now the most successful film at the box office of all time.
Our poll said that the only thing the Academy got wrong in their list of ten films was their exclusion of "Star Trek," a film that our readers said was every bit as good as "Avatar" and "District 9." After that, no other films seemed to even rate in our virtual three-way dead-heat. Here are the rest of the results, rounded off to whole numbers:
To go along with our poll results, a few of our SmackRefs weigh in with their thoughts:
While I think "Star Trek" was slighted this award season, I think we're seeing a trend that started with "Children of Men" and "The Fountain." Sci-fi is making itself relevant again. Much like comic book films have done, the tongue is taken out of the cheek and instead tells a great story. With films like "District 9" and "Star Trek" — and even the slighted "Moon" — all redefining the genre and making sci-fi more marketable, I'm hopeful that we've got only great things ahead of us. My only worry is the latest "great" sci-fi piece, "Avatar," is a joke when it comes to story and sophistication, and instead rides on its technical imagination in creating a world like no other.
Seriously, if the quality of films on offer here indicates just where cinema is heading, you can count me in for more sci-fi in 2010! Maybe, just maybe, another fantasy/sci-fi film can win Oscar (since the last to do so was Peter Jackson's "Return Of The King" epic from 2003) in the next few years, considering that two of the ten best films of last year fit into that category… it's only a matter of time before the Academy gets its head around quality storytelling regardless of special effects, rather than storytelling for the sake of special effects.
While the increase of the Academy Awards Best Picture category from five to ten nominees didn't do much in the way of awards show drama, it did allow for some very un-Oscar-like films to get a bit of their deserved recognition. Seeing high-concept genre flicks included with the often-favored dramatic indies is something that has needed to happen for a long time, and I can only hope that that trend continues. Watching a film like "District 9" receive nominations for both Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay in January was a welcome surprise. Unfortunately, watching it win nothing last night wasn't.