In an unusual move- and seemingly unprecedented for awards seasons- the Broadcast Film Critics Association, whose annual Critics’ Choice Awards nominations were announced this past Monday, has decided to poll its membership on to whether to include Star Wars: The Force Awakens in their Best Picture line-up. J.J. Abrams’ reboot of the beloved saga has missed out on the majority of awards season precursor action due to Disney’s decision to withhold screenings of the film until after it’s world premiere on Monday night.
With the film now for the world and glowing reviews alongside, the BFCA is looking to see whether or not that bears inclusion to their upcoming awards ceremony. This would mark an unusual twist but Star Wars has loused up many awards bodies beforehand. Members of the press weren’t allowed to screen the film in advance (Disney’s way of tempering spoilers) and neither were members of the film industry causing Star Wars to miss out for the Golden Globes, Screen Actors Guild Awards, and all critics group that had already voted by the December 14th premiere of the film. The American Film Institute‘s (AFI) list of the top ten movies of 2015 did include Star Wars, but only after postponing their deadline until after the film had premiered.
The Broadcast Film Critics Association is the largest North American critical group consisting of 300 television, radio and online journalists and is predictably a fairly reliable bellwether for might show up at the Oscars. If Star Wars is granted a right to land in the Best Picture category- and it seems that would be the only category the film would be squeezed into- the nomination count would rise from ten to eleven films (a first for the BFCA). Curiously, while no one (outside of the uber-elite had screened Star Wars before this past Monday, the film was shortlisted for Best Visual Effects at the Oscars; presumably a show of good faith since the effects-heavy film was always considered a contender in that category).
Below is the e-mail sent out to Broadcast Film Critics:
To the BFCA Membership,
“In the wake of an unprecedented cry out from you – the BFCA Membership – the Board of Directors has decided to poll the membership on Monday to determine whether we should add ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ to our list of Critics’ Choice Award nominees for Best Picture.
“The question will be: If you had seen ‘The Force Awakens’ before casting your Critics’ Choice Awards ballot, would you have included it in your five choices for Best Picture?
“As you know, the studio chose not to screen the film for awards voters in advance of its premiere on Monday. However, our purpose in presenting the Critics’ Choice Awards is to celebrate the finest cinematic achievements of the year. It appears that many members believe ‘The Force Awakens’ deserves to be included.
“In this unique situation, we think this is the best way to proceed.