‘Rise of Skywalker’ looks for first ‘Star Wars’ Oscar win in nearly 40 years

Chewbacca (Joonas Suotamo), Poe (Oscar Isaac), Finn (John Boyega), Rey (Daisy Ridley)
Chewbacca (Joonas Suotamo), left, Poe (Oscar Isaac), Finn (John Boyega) and Rey (Daisy Ridley) in “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.”
(Lucasfilm Ltd.)

“The Rise of Skywalker” is the newest hope for a “Star Wars” Oscar.

The nominations for the 92nd Academy Awards were announced Monday, and the final installment of the Skywalker Saga is among the nominees for original score, sound editing and visual effects . (Babu Frik, however, was rudely snubbed in the best supporting actor category.)

Should the J.J. Abrams-helmed movie go on to win an Oscar next month, “The Rise of Skywalker” would be the first “Star Wars” film to nab a prize from the academy since “Return of the Jedi” (1983).

The original “Star Wars,” now known as “Star Wars: Episode IV — A New Hope,” has so far been the most decorated of the franchise when it comes to the Academy Awards. The 1977 film was nominated in 10 categories — including best picture, director (George Lucas), original screenplay (Lucas) and supporting actor (Alec Guinness).

Although it won six Oscars and a special achievement award recognizing Benjamin Burtt Jr. for his creation of robot, creature and alien voices, “Star Wars” lost the top prize to “Annie Hall.” Some “Star Wars” fans have yet to let that go.


The “Star Wars” franchise’s strength has been in the craft categories. The films preceding “The Rise of Skywalker” have earned a total of 34 past nominations, with 31 of them for movies of the Skywalker Saga. The franchise’s overall tally so far is seven wins, plus three special achievement awards. But no “Star Wars” film has won an Oscar since the original trilogy.

“A New Hope” won for score, sound mixing, visual effects, costume design, production design and film editing on top of its special achievement award. Nominated for three Oscars, “Empire Strikes Back” (1980) won for sound mixing as well as a special achievement award for visual effects. “Return of the Jedi” (1983) also received the special achievement award for visual effects and was nominated in four other categories.

None of the prequel films won any Oscars. “The Phantom Menace” (1999) garnered three nods in visual effects and the two sound categories while “Attack of the Clones” (2002) and “Revenge of the Sith” (2005) had one nomination each in visual effects and makeup, respectively.

Daisey Ridley as Rey and John Boyega as Finn in a scene from "Star Wars: The Force Awakens."
(Film Frame)

"The Force Awakens” (2015) kicked things off with a bang for the sequel trilogy when it earned five Oscar nominations, in editing, original score, visual effects and the sound categories. Though the movie raised some hopes that it could turn things around for the franchise, it came away empty-handed. “The Last Jedi” (2017) also made a decent showing, with four nominations, in score, visual effects and the sound categories, but did not win in any category.

Of the stand-alone films, “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” (2016) fared a bit better with academy voters by earning two nominations, in sound mixing and visual effects. “Solo” (2018) was nominated for visual effects.

Will “The Rise of Skywalker” end a 36-year Oscar drought for “Star Wars”? We’ll find out in February.

Granted, the movie is rapidly approaching $1 billion at the worldwide box office, so things are probably fine either way.