Sunday, December 27, 2015

'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' added to Critics' Choice Awards, some critics object

Paul Krugman and the awards shows on 'The Big Short' ended with me noting that "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" got added to the Best Movie category at the Critics' Choice Movie Awards in a special vote.  Wochit has the story in The Force Awakens Receives Late Nomination For Critics' Choice Award For Best Picture.

After an unprecedented vote by members, the Broadcast Film Critics Association had added Star Wars: The Force Awakens to the list of nominees for the 2015 Critics' Choice Award for Best Picture. When Critic's Choice Awards nominations came out last Monday, most of the critics in the association had not seen the latest Star Wars movie, since Disney had refused to release copies for early screenings. However, the strong positive reaction to the film led the BFCA to take a vote on whether it should be allowed in as a late inclusion, and apparently the BFCA voted in the Force Awakens' favor.
The film was absent from the Golden Globes nomination list as well because advance screenings for critics weren't available in time for the nomination deadline.  The Hollywood Foreign Press Association, who run the "drinky Oscars" didn't accomodate the film, but the Critics' Choice Awards did.  Considering that the American Film Institute honored "The Force Awakens" as one of its top ten films of the year and this decision follows the precedent of adding 'Castaway' to the list in 2000, the BFCA probably made the right call.

Not all members of the BFCA agreed.  Follow over the jump for their reactions.

Collider reported in ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ Critics’ Choice Awards Nomination Sparks Outcry.
Eric Melin, now a former BFCA voter, sent in his resignation email and subsequently posted it to his website He wrote in part:
In order for a professional critics body to have integrity, nomination and voting guidelines must be consistent with the way they were laid out at the beginning of the process. Nominating “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” for Best Picture does not follow those guidelines, and re-ignites a loophole for this kind of thing to happen every year. (Apparently you did this in 2000 for “Cast Away” before I was a member.) Unlike the other nominations, this was not decided upon using a weighted ballot of all possibilities, and it smells like a desperate ploy to get better TV ratings.
Scott Renshaw from Salt Lake City Weekly similarly posted his email to Twitter:
This decision has been a long time coming, but was made inevitable by the decision to change the voting process to allow Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens to be included as a nominee after the official nominating deadline. Irrespective of any precedent that may be invoked (specifically, the 2000 decision to include Cast Away, pre-dating my membership), it is obvious to me that this decision is based more on its marketing value than on making sure that the best films are included. If that were the case, the entire nomination process would have been opened up again to allow The Force Awakens to be considered in all categories.
As Indiewire pointed out, other (still current) members spoke out on social media to criticize the action:
David Poland @DavidPoland

BFCA humiliates itself by adding Star Wars after the vote. So much for pretending to have integrity.
1:04 PM - 22 Dec 2015

Clayton Davis @AwardsCircuit

Looks like many BFCA members are choosing the right answer...#NO to the "Star Wars" awards do-over.  Very impressed.
12:10 PM - 21 Dec 2015

I’m not happy about it, but the BFCA has now added Star Wars: The Force Awakens to our Best Picture nominees. — Christopher Campbell (@thefilmcynic) December 22, 2015
As a ratings ploy has been cited, let’s look at the ratings. The 2015 Critics’ Choice Awards was televised on A&E for the first time in 2015 and received 522,000 total views. This is nearly half of the 1 million views the ceremony garnered when it aired on The CW the previous year, although it’s important to remember that one is from a broadcast network and the other is a cable channel. In 2014, The Hollywood Reporter noted a slight drop in the award show’s key demo and yet a similarly slight rise in total viewers.
I'm sort of with Eric Melin in that I think the nomination process should have been opened up for as many categories as possible.  "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" is not one of the Best Sci-Fi/Horror movies of the year, but it's one of the Best Movie nominees?  Really?  John Williams' score was not nominated?  Yeah, right.  Still, I think Disney is crying all the way to the bank.  Who needs awards nominations when Forbes reports 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' Box Office: A $49M Friday, $440M In Eight Days, $890M Worldwide?  Besides, the important awards are the Oscars.  I'm sure it will get its share of nominations then.

ETA: Crossposted to fandom_wank on


  1. I think it's a problem for the critics and awards people to nominate movies/people for a year when the year's not done yet. I know some of them are trying to avoid the glut of ceremonies cluttering up January and February, but we live in an age now of immediate digital information and updating, and we do live in a world where good movies can come out at Christmas time (isn't this supposed to be award bait season anyway?)

    1. That didn't take long at all! I think you set a record for how fast you commented, let alone leaving two of them!

      That written, I agree. Not only did Star Wars miss the deadlines for the Critics' Choice and Golden Globes, it missed the SAG Awards, not that it would have received any nominations from them except maybe for best stunt ensemble. Yes, that's a category.



    1. Oh, I'm on Fury Road's side, too. The BFCA loved it. Here's what they wrote about its nominations this year:

      "“Mad Max: Fury Road” leads this year with 13 nominations including Best Picture, Charlize Theron for both Best Actress and Best Actress In An Action Movie, Tom Hardy for Best Actor In An Action Movie, George Miller for Best Director, Best Cinematography, Best Production Design, Best Editing, Best Costume Design, Best Hair and Makeup, Best Visual Effects, Best Action Movie, and Best Sci-Fi/Horror Movie."

  3. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    1. While the more common meaning of wank provides unintended humor to your choice of service to advertise, it's not good enough. Deleted.