After the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences expanded its Best Picture list beyond five nominees, the door opened for big-budget Hollywood blockbusters to score a prestigious Best Picture nomination. As I wrote last year, it was likely that the Academy broadened the Best Picture shortlist after Christopher Nolan’s opus, “The Dark Knight,” was cruelly snubbed in 2009. Since then, “Avatar” and Nolan’s own “Inception” have managed to score Best Pic nods.
This year, all eyes were on “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2,” since the film was the final in a critically acclaimed series that had never achieved the nomination before. Unfortunately, it was not to be, as the film only earned technical nods and ultimately walked away from last night's Oscars completely empty-handed.
However, 2012’s line-up of big budget popcorn fare looks like it might once again yield some love from the Oscars. Which of this year’s blockbusters might possibly score an Oscar Best Picture nod next year? Check out five possible contenders after the jump!
"The Dark Knight Rises"
To say that expectations are high in the third and final film of Christopher Nolan’s much beloved Batman trilogy is like saying that Lady Gaga has an interesting fashion sense. After all, like we’ve said, it was the snub of critically and publically acclaimed “The Dark Knight” that likely triggered the Oscars committee to expand the Best Picture list. We’re gonna sound like fanboys, but we don’t really have any doubt that “The Dark Knight Rises” will be epic. So, the stage is set for a “The Dark Knight Rises” Best Picture nod.
"The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey"
In any other year, we would be confident in saying that “The Dark Knight Rises” would take that one blockbuster nominee spot. But, in 2012, we have Peter Jackson’s return to Middle Earth after “Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King,” which only won all 11 (!) Oscars, including Best Picture, that it was nominated for. “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” is the first of a planned two-parter, so it’s likelier that “The Hobbit: There and Back Again” will score a nod. Still, the Academy clearly loves Middle Earth and the teaser trailer looks reassuringly familiar, so don’t count out this powerhouse.
Speaking of impressive pedigree, “Prometheus” definitely is no slouch in this department. The film was conceived as a prequel to the iconic 1979 film, “Alien,” and has been hyped as a return to form for director Ridley Scott. That it’s a sci-fi-horror genre film (Oscar voters typically don’t go for that sort of thing) will hold back its Oscar chances, but if Scott and his acclaimed cast of Charlize Theron, Noomi Rapace and Michael Fassbender do bring their A-game (the evocative teaser trailer looks promising), then we wouldn’t be surprised if the film manages to scare its way to a nomination.
Combine Iron Man, Captain America, Thor and an assortment of other Marvel superheroes together with "Buffy" and "Firefly" creator Joss Whedon and what do you get? A geek’s dream come true, of course, but also the possibility of a truly amazing Marvel comics movie. Typically, Marvel films are fun, enjoyable summer fare that are forgotten come awards season, but with Whedon having written and directed “The Avengers,” we’re crossing our fingers that he has created something special that perhaps Oscar voters will take to as well.
"The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part II"
It’s fair to say that the “Twilight” series is not the most loved movie franchise amongst critics, especially when you compare it contemporaries like “Harry Potter.” Still, given that "Breaking Dawn Part II" is the final film of the series, we’re expecting that director Bill Condon and stars Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson and Taylor Lautner will up their game and perhaps surprise everyone with a great film.
Which 2012 big-budget blockbuster do you think will score a Best Picture Oscar nomination? Tell us what you think in the comments section and on Twitter!