J.J. Abrams’ “Star Trek Into Darkness” has arrived. From here the film goes out into the unforgiving summer and we’ll just have to see where it stands fiscally on the other side of things. But I imagine at the very least its various craft achievements will be in the awards discussion at the end of the year.
So with that in mind, how has a franchise that spans 12 films over 34 years fared at the Academy Awards all this time? It seemed like something worth digging into for our purposes here and with the new film on screens, so let’s take a look…
“Star Trek: The Motion Picture” (1979)
When Robert Wise first ushered the story to the big screen in 1979, It wasn’t hugely admired by hardcore Trekkies or, indeed, most critics. But Jerry Goldsmith’s iconic score (which would later be used as the theme for television’s “The Next Generation”) picked up a nomination, as did the film’s art direction and visual effects.
“Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home” (1986)
Two films went by before “Star Trek” was finally represented at the Oscars again, and this time it was a respectable quartet of citations (the most of any film until J.J. Abrams’s reboot tied the mark). Donald Peterman’s cinematography was recognized, as was Leonard Rosenman’s score. The sound effects and sound mixing were chalked up as well.
“Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country” (1991)
With the scars of “Star Trek V: The Final Frontier” somewhat healed, the franchise brought the original series storyline to a close on celluloid with “The Undiscovered Country.” The film picked up a pair of Oscar nominations, for Best Makeup and Best Sound Effects Editing.
“Star Trek: First Contact” (1996)
Pretty much all of the “Next Generation” films missed the mark and seemed like little more than extensions of the TV show each time out. And only one managed to get any recognition from the Academy: “First Contact.” The film was nominated for Best Makeup
“Star Trek” (2009)
The era of J.J. Abrams brought a lot of awards season promise for the franchise. Indeed, there was plenty of talk in 2009 that the newly expanded Best Picture category could be a boon for films like “Star Trek.” The film picked up PGA and WGA nominations but, alas, a Best Picture Oscar nod wasn’t in the cards. Nevertheless, it did land four nominations, for Best Makeup, Best Sound Editing, Best Sound Mixing and Best Visual Effects. Most notably, it marked the first Oscar win for a “Star Trek” film, taking the trophy for Best Makeup.
And then, well, there was one other recent appearance…
…but let’s not revisit that.
How will the latest “Star Trek” installment fare? Time will tell, but I think it’s fair to consider the same quartet the last film landed to be possible. And like the first film, the art direction and cinematography are top notch, but in all likelihood those branches will stick with less overt genre work (like usual). I imagine Benedict Cumberbatch will have his champions, but all of that will just be fuel for peripheral pushes in “August: Osage County,” “The Fifth Estate” and “Twelve Years a Slave.”
What’s your Oscar speculation on the new film? Have your say in the comments section below.
“Star Trek Into Darkness” is now playing at a theater near you.