AFI Delaying Awards Announcement to Consider ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’

     November 17, 2015


The Force of Star Wars is so strong that awards groups are bending to its will, not the other way around. While most year-end films jockey for the release date/premiere date/film festival date that best positions it for awards consideration, Disney has opted not to screen Star Wars: The Force Awakens early for critics groups in favor of keeping its secrets all under wraps. That means it will not make the cut for consideration for the New York Film Critics Circle, the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, or the Screen Actors Guild, and it was supposed to miss out on the AFI Awards. However, in a funny turn of events, the American Film Institute has pushed its awards announcement over a week, from December 7th to December 16th, so that its voters can see Star Wars before turning in their year-end lists.

Per THR, the change was made “to ensure the jury has the opportunity to screen the unusual amount of late releases this year.” Indeed, films like The Revenant and Joy are coming down to the wire, but are expected to be completed in time for consideration for the major critics groups at the beginning of December. Star Wars, however, won’t screen openly until its Los Angeles premiere on December 14th, meaning the new AFI Awards date gets voters in just under the wire.


Image via Lucasfilm

What’s funny here is that we don’t even know if Star Wars: The Force Awakens will be award-worthy. J.J. Abrams has never been in the race before, and even if The Force Awakens is good, awards groups have a bit of a prejudice about overly sci-fi films or giant blockbusters—of which Star Wars is unabashedly both.

However, AFI has a predilection for choosing an eclectic group of films in its year-end Top 10. The Dark Knight Rises, Bridesmaids, and Coraline all made some of its recent Top 10 lists, so a Star Wars mention isn’t entirely out of the question.

One group The Force Awakens will absolutely be ready for, however, is the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Will it follow in the footsteps of George Lucas’ 1977 original and land a Best Picture nomination? Well we’ll just have to see if it’s good or not first.

For more on the awards race as a whole, catch up on my Oscar Beat columns here, and for more on Star Wars: The Force Awakens, peruse the links below:


Latest News