Oscar Watch – Star Wars: The Force Awakens

This weekend, Star Wars: The Force Awakens looks poised and primed to demolish box office records. It’s sold $100 million in pre-sale tickets (a previously unimaginable figure). The Disney marketing machine has been in hyper drive. Hyperbole it is not to say this is the most eagerly anticipated picture of the 21st century.

Over the last few months, I’ve been writing my Oscar predictions and now it’s to the point where I’m doing weekly predictions as we draw closer to the actual nominations coming in January. Through it, Star Wars has hung out there like a giant question mark. If it got rave reviews, could it potentially become a player not just to smash records, but to enter the Oscar fray?

Today the landscape has become clearer as the review embargo has been lifted on the eve of its release. And the word that’s emerged is glowing like Luke Skywalker’s lightsaber. Based on 127 reviews so far, The Force Awakens stands at a magnificent 97% on Rotten Tomatoes. I’ll confess that I’m being careful not to read the reviews (I’ll be seeing it Sunday and my own review will be on the blog that day), but the consensus is undeniably that this is a welcome return to the most beloved franchise in history.

Does that mean The Force Awakens could become the first entry in the series to nab a Best Picture nomination since the original in 1977? Yes… it does. Is it guaranteed? No and my predictions on Friday likely won’t have it making the cut. However, as it premieres to what could be history making numbers and with critics on its side, the forces could align to include it and possibly J.J. Abrams in the directing race. Stay tuned…

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