Academy Rule Change Sparks Oscar Buzz For JJ Abrams Star Trek

Today the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced a change in the rules for the Oscars, which could open the door to more popular movies being considered for Best Picture. Returning to rules it used up until 1943, the Academy will be doubling the number of nominees to ten. The change already has some wondering if Star Trek could be on that list.

Academy’s big change
The announcement came this morning in a press conference. Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences President Sid Ganis stated: 

After more than six decades, the Academy is returning to some of its earlier roots, when a wider field competed for the top award of the year. The final outcome, of course, will be the same – one Best Picture winner – but the race to the finish line will feature 10, not just five, great movies from 2009.

Star Trek buzz begins
This big news reverberated around the entertainment community. Industry trades The Hollywood Reporter and Variety both cite how the five-movie limit kept the more popular films out of contention. Variety notes:

Acad’s decision will undoubtedly add heat to next year’s Oscar campaigning, especially in a year when no obvious front-runners have emerged in the first half. The move also comes on the heels of biz complaints that the Acad’s rule of limiting the pic nominees to the top five vote-getters elbows out some of the more popular titles, such as last year’s B.O. champ "The Dark Knight."

Other’s have jumped to the logical conclusion that this means the current number one movie is now in the game. EW ran a very early "Oscar Watch" column today, which notes:

I’d say this could really help the chances of some more commercially popular films, which are often edged out of the running by typical "Academy films" like The Reader or Frost/Nixon. Certainly The Dark Knight and WALL•E would have made a top 10 Academy list this year—will we now see Up and Star Trek on the Oscar ballot?

E has an article ‘Star Trek for Oscar?‘, which notes:

The move could mean typically overlooked genres like sci-fi, comedy and animation could get a crack at the big prize—and could spell good news for this year’s biggest hits, Star Trek, The Hangover and Up.

Time Magazine is also talking Trek for Oscar:

If today’s announcement did anything concrete, it certified a Big Picture nomination for Pixar’s Up and maybe — I mean, why not? — Star Trek. Wouldn’t it be nice to wake up on Oscar-nomination morning and hear, for once, "And the nominees for Best Picture are … movies you’ve seen"?

And SciFi Wire ran a story asking "Could the Academy’s doubled Best Picture category help sci-fi nab an Oscar?", which notes:

The move comes on the heels of complaints that the Academy’s rule of limiting the Best Picture nominees to the top five vote-getters elbows out some of the more popular titles, such as last year’s blockbuster, The Dark Knight.

The rules change could help some of this year’s contenders, such as Star Trek, which otherwise could be overlooked for consideration.

The LATimes is running a poll on ‘What fanboy film might get a best picture nod‘, and Star Trek is currently leading with 30.9%.

Does Star Trek have a chance?
Although genre films (including past Star Trek films) have often been nominated for technical awards at the Oscars (editing, sound, effects, etc), but it is rare for them to be acknowledged in the actor, writer, director and Best Picture categories. One recent notable exception was the three Lord of the Rings films, which were all nominated for Best Picture, with the last one Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King winning in 2003. The last science fiction film to be nominated was E.T. The Extra Terrestrial in 1982.

The Star Trek movie is currently #1 for 2009 for the domestic box office, and will likely end the hear in (or very near) the top 5. But it has also been one of the best reviewed films of 2009. The Rotten Tomatoes Rating for the film is 95%, which is higher than all of the 2008 Best Picture nominees, including the winner Slumdog Millionaire (which was at 94%). The Dark Knight, which is being cited as an example of a popular film that didn’t make the grade due to the previous rules, also had a 94% rating. The rating for Pixar’s Up, which soon pass Star Trek in sales, is 97%, so it too should be considered a contender for the 10 nominee list.

With all that in mind, it looks like Star Trek has a pretty good chance to get on that list of 10 films. Of course the year is only half over and the ‘oscar movies’ tend to be in the Fall/Christmas season. As for winning Best Picture, well that is probably not going to happen, but JJ Abrams and Damon Lindelof (the producers of Star Trek) should certainly start thinking about what to wear to the Oscars in 2010.

We will find out in Feb 2010
The 82nd Academy Awards nominations will be announced on Tuesday, February 2. The Oscar® ceremony honoring films for 2009 will again take place at the Kodak Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center® in Hollywood, and will be televised live by the ABC Television Network.

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Easy in top 10

No, no, no.

Star Trek: Best Picture Award 2009. I don’t care how great the movie was, if that happens, hell has pretty much frozen over.


It won’t happen. We’ll see ten “prestige” pictures. Maybe “Up” but that’s as far as the Academy will be able to stomach

Hellta Vega?

I’d SO love to see the new Star Trek nominated, but I’d never believe the stogy old academy would EVER lower itself to give the Oscar to a Trek film. In MY opinion it has already won in my heart though…I can’t imagine anything better this year.

However, if I could only get one “Oscar” wish it would be for somehow Leonard Nimoy could be nominated and win for his role as Spock. I think everyone here would agree, that our elder statesman should be recognized….it is the logical thing to do. Unfortunately, the Academy very rarely does the logical thing.

Loved the movie, but if Trek wins Best Picture, the Oscars will turn into a bigger joke than they already are.

have to agree, it should be nominated for something, but def not win best picture. maybe best director?

Forget the haters they have NO idea what they are talking about. I think Star Trek could be good enough to be a nominee.

I thought Star Trek was a fun, quality, movie but I think that if a genre picture wins it should be Watchmen.

I thought the acting in Trek & Watchmen was
fan-dang-tastic! Awards to both!

This Movie Deserves:


Amongst many other great accolades!

I LOVE THIS MOVIE! I should watch it again this week.

Great movie, but not “Best Picture” Great. Dark Knight would have made sense last year.

But I hold out hope for Trek 2A. I have a feeling the next one will be better than this one. :)

If “Star Trek” or JJ Abrams (for this picture) should win an Oscar, then the Academy Awards would loose all credibility. Why don’t they just give it to “Tranformers 2” and Michael Bay instead? It’s the same crap from the same crappy writers. It is forgetful, unoriginal throw-away entertainment… No awards is deserved.

And the Oscar for Best use of Time travel creating an Alternate Universe goes to ……

*opens up envelope…..dramitic pause*

Star Trek !!!!!

We’re talking about nominations, not winning an academy award for best pic. A nomination is definitely possible.

15. Who crapped in your cereal this morning?

Once again, we are not talking about winning, but a nomination.

Watchmen for best picture?! Did we see the same movie? Just check rotten tomatoes for a dose of reality.

it’d be nice to get a nom, but it’s not gonna win.

people people, if Star Trek wins then the stereo of “Star Trek is for n3rds” will be vaporized. You see, the reason people think that is because films like slumdog win awards. Non-nerds love Lord of the Rings because it won best picture in 2003. If it hadn’t, it’s popularity would have dropped and people would think the same about LotR as they do about ST. If Star Trek wins, there’ll be a bigger hype for Star Trek XII. After Lord of the Rings won best picture, people wanted a fourth, but we all knew that would ruin it. Star Trek isn’t bound to any book or predestined history therefore it can go anywhere for a long time

It seems unlikely that such a profoundly flawed story, with dialogue that might earn a ‘B’ for a freshman film student could possibly earn best picture, regardless of terrific acting, cinematography, musical scoring, makeup, sets, SFX, etc. Those categories? Obviously ST could/should win something.

Best film? ‘fraid not.

Star Trek should at LEAST get the Sound and VFX awards.

Best Picture would be absolutely fantastic.

It could get a nom for best pic, now that there are 10 nom.s.

Eheh, I don’t think you can place ‘Star Trek’ up there with TDK and LOTR. Trek 09 is a fun movie, but it’s not a Best Picture contender.

the only movies that ever get nominated for best picture are the boring artsy movies that are 3 hours of dialog and drama and no action.

There are always…. etc.
Hey, it was a damn good movie, dammit!
(But at LEAST cinematography and FX.)

Is it still playing?? I wanna see it again!
(That Russian bootleg does NOT cut it.)

#15 – “then the Academy Awards would ***loose*** all credibility”

People who can’t spell *lose* have lost all credibility.

Or, you may want to tell JJ Abrams to retitle his show to “Loost”.

Well. Oscar had no choice. because no one was watching the show. Especialy after last years Fiasco of a joke of a oscar. it would be great to see Trek Nomanated. it would not win because everyone liked it. Oscars do not go to films people like. It goes to a film that no one has seen. Rarely does it happen. When Lord of the Rings won there was simply no choice. But if you remember not one Actor of the Rings was even Nomanated even though that Movie had Much better acting then the others that won that year. For Trek to win would be a Complete Miricle.


He meant what he said.

Trek has popped up at the oscars b4 – i believe TMP, TVH, TUC and FC all recieved nominations for tech stuff like score, makeup, sound?? surprisingly TWOK didnt get any noms despite having the first use of CGI a movie (if there was any justice TWOK wouldve been up for best picture, director, actor (shatner) and supporting (montoban), and screenplay)…cant recall if any films have won an oscar or not?

correct me if im wrong but i think TVH got the most noms and i *think* it won for best score…that was certainly the most popular trek film with audiences and critics (b4 the new one)

now obviously the new film is gonna get tech nominations and probable wins for those (the academy tends to nominate and give the tech awards out to the films that proved the most popular with the critics and BO – like T2, Matrix, TDK – over stuff that got trashed by critics – like the SW prequels, Matrix sequels, Indy 4 etc)…but a best film nom?…its possible…10 films is quite alot of choice – and its obviously been done to recognise films from genres not traditionally assiociated with picture nominations (i.e. sci fi).. trek has hit big both with BO and critics and audiences…plus theres serious nostalgia for (original) trek now…its a great american insitution that has never properly been recognised by the oscars (unlike star wars which got nominated for best pic)- plus the fact Obama likes it etc…

its possible….theres no way itd win..but it could get that all important nom and then itd always be known as the oscar nominated Trek film

plus dont forget Avatar….

Wow, wouldn’t that be something?!?!?! I don’t i know if Trek deserves to be nominated, BUT it is number 1 on my top ten list thus far. I’ll reserve judgment til the end of the year.

On a side note DAMN!!!! I wish this was last year, so The Dark Knight would’ve been nominated!!!!!

I love Star Trek, but there is no chance it will be among the top ten Oscar nominees for Best Picture. No matter how well-reviewed the movie is, I highly doubt the Academy is going to open its doors for a movie like Trek.

Up also won’t be nominated, since animated films have their own categories. Unless they decide to make an exception. Can’t recall if they’ve done that before.

The following movies probably have a much better chance than Trek in being nominated: Away We Go, The Hurt Locker, My Sister’s Keeper, Public Enemies, Funny People, Taking Woodstock, The Damned United, A Serious Man, Shutter Island, The Road, Amelia, Nine (starring Daniel Day-Lewis), Brothers, Invictus, and The Lovely Bones. And these are just the potential critically-acclaimed, Oscar-worthy movies with *set* release dates.

That said, I would love to be proven wrong. If Trek turns out to be nominated, I will cheer louder than pretty much anyone else. But I just don’t see it happening.

While that would be fantastically cool….


I could see Bruce Greenwood for best supporting, best musical score, best technical, best screneplay etc…, don’t know about best picture though…

It was a fun summer movie, but that’s all it is. It’s not even remotely Best Picture material.

A nomination for anything other than effects or sound design seems pretty unlikely to me. Frankly, I’m not sure how I would react if ST09 received a Best Picture Nomination. It would almost be like stepping into a parallel universe of all my own.

Who cares? The Oscars are all about advertising.

The film industry self promoting by giving it’s self a big pat on the back.

The reason they have increased the number to 10 is because of the recession. Now more films can put the “Oscar Nominated” sticker on their box and increase sales.

With all respect, Mr. Pascale, citing the “Rotten Tomatoes” score for Trek (or any other film) is pretty meaningless in the context of discussing an Academy Award nomination for Best Picture. The film is an enjoyable summer romp, nothing more, and all that 95% rating means is that the majority of critics wound up agreeing that it was, in fact, enjoyable.

To put it less charitably, the filmmakers aimed low, and wound up scoring a direct hit. That’s fine for the careers of the people involved, and for Paramount’s shareholders, but it mean this movie will have any lasting impact as cinema, science fiction, or even as good Star Trek.

It Should be nominated

#40-Michael Hall

Couldn’t have said it better. Well done.

The acad has no cred in my mind. Stanley Kubrick and Alfred Hitchcock never won best picture. Enough said.

I wish someone would win the award and tell the acad to stick it.

#40 –

I disagree, strongly. The filmmakers aimed high, and scored a direct hit! This film was good cinema. It was good science fiction. And it is GREAT Star Trek. A nomination, out of 10, would not seem inappropriate.

I want to officially start the “Leonard Nimoy for Best Supporting Actor” campaign

DJ Neelix and BurntSynapse are acting like nothing but trolls. They are just trying to get a rise out of people.

BTW, I got to see Watchmen for free and I still want my money back.

@ 40

RottenTomato ratings do seem to give this impression that movies are objectively, or numerically comparable. Yet, I think everyone would agree that Trek 09’s 95% rating hardly makes it more Oscar-worthy than, say, the 92% that Frost/Nixon got. It’s always more important to read what the reviewers actually wrote and in this case, as you pointed out, 95% of them simply agreed that Trek 09 was great fun, but nothing more.

i hope this movie will get nominated for an oscar because i think it was an excellent movie. any one agree with me??

36. Capt Krunch — With all due respect to Mr. Orci and Mr. Kurtzman, I don’t think the script is exactly “Oscar-worthy.” They did a great job with the characters, but the plot was pretty muddled, even a bit contrived. Nero’s motives, in particular, were pretty weak. Of course, some of the deleted scenes may have solved some of these problems, so perhaps it was not the writers’ fault but that of Mr. Abrams and his directions to the editors.

I love the sweeping generalizations like “critics thought it was good fun, but nothing more!’ Let’s take a look at metacritic who have a better rating system, IMO, than Rotten Tomatoes when it comes to analyzing quality. ST09 received 13 out of 37 reviews scoring it from 90-100 in grade. Regardless of how you feel about the movie, that’s no small feat for a “mindless, low-aiming summer action movie.”

Since when have the Oscars been good markers of quality anyhow? This is the same academy who gave one of the worst movies of its respective year (“Crash”) a best picture award.

Fredric March won Best Actor for Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde in 1937 or ’38, I believe.