There is a long-running misconception that members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences love only underdog biopics, literary adaptations and anything in which
Osborne does note, however, that academy voters tend to have a blind spot when it comes to big, visual-effects-laden fantasies. "It confuses me when a movie like
This year has plenty of non-drama fare looking for some attention. Imaginative rides such as Disney's off-beat fairy-tale offerings "Maleficent" and the musical "Into the Woods," its blockbuster release with Marvel's "Guardians of the Galaxy," Chris Nolan's just-released space odyssey "Interstellar" from Paramount and
"As the makeup of the academy membership changes with more members [having] awareness of animation and visual effects, I think we're going to see more fantasy and sci-fi films come into the spotlight," says
Jorge Gutierrez, the writer and director of this year's animated feature "The Book of Life," echoes Hahn's sentiments. "The really good genre films reflect their time and views in incredibly unique and subversive ways."
"I think academy voters are open to what they think are the better films regardless of the genre," Tom Ortenberg, president of Open Road Films, says. "'Little Miss Sunshine,' 'Sideways' and 'Juno' are three fairly recent examples of comedies that were award season favorites. Voters are open to comedies if they have been moved by them.... The best award season campaign of all is to get people to see your movie."
Darker, edgier movies that don't necessarily leave the audience with warm, fuzzy feelings could also find their way into the best picture nominees. Noirish offerings such as David Fincher's thriller "Gone Girl" and writer-director Dan Gilroy's gritty "Nightcrawler" belong to the category of genre films that have seen awards love despite their lack of faith in human nature, films such as "Fatal Attraction" and
"Academy voters are often looking for thematic and emotional relevance and standout performances," says Gilroy. "Biopics and straight dramas are where those qualities can often be found. That said, a lot of the films that I love are genre films that have all those elements. You can even argue that the first movie that received the Oscar, 'Wings' , was a genre movie — a great kinetic film with lots of action about WWI fighter pilots.
Perhaps it's "Book of Life's" Gutierrez who offers the best defense for including genre movies in all the top races. "They truly are a reflection of ourselves, with all our glorious flaws — like a delicious street taco full of wisdom."