– by Joseph Jammer Medina

Earlier this year, Fox released War for the Planet of the Apes to massive critical acclaim. The film settled in at an amazing 93 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, and an astounding 82 percent on Metacritic, the latter of which averages the scores of all the reviews of the films. So, it wasn’t just that 93 percent of critics gave the film a favorable review, but that they generally gave it high scores, to boot.

On the whole, critics saw the film to be the perfect capper to the trilogy that began with Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Unlike other trilogies that maybe went too big at the conclusion, this film keep things personal, resulting in a film that was decidedly less epic than its predecessor, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, and substantially less epic than its title suggests. It kept the narrative tight and the stakes closer to the leads, which makes for powerful storytelling. That being said, it wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows for the film.

Despite the warm welcome, the film only made $359 million worldwide, and given its $150 million budget, the cost for advertising, and the cut for theaters, the actual profits for the movies are either nonexistent as of right now, or very modest. But that won’t stop Fox from making a real Oscar push here.

According to Deadline, 20th Century Fox is launching a huge campaign to lock down nominations for the film. Despite their overall quality, this current generation of Apes films have been largely ignored by the Academy, even when there were cries to nominate Andy Serkis for his motion performance work. Fox is looking to nominate the film for many categories for many different awards, but they’re really looking to lock down that Best Picture nomination at the Oscars.

Their strategy will involve the whole “end of the trilogy” aspect of the film, and they will also be utilizing the international appeal of the film, which makes sense since the Academy has had a heavy influx of new members from around the globe. More than anything, they will focus on getting the movie in front of as many Academy eyeballs as possible. Since the film is deemed a strong one, they figure it will take care of the rest, once members actually watch it.

Speaking on that subject, producer Peter Chernin told the outlet:

“I’m incredibly proud of this movie, and I do believe that on almost any level of storytelling, character development, narrative thrusts, or epic-ness, this is an extraordinary movie. In the past  people probably have tended to sort of genre-ize it and sort of look at it, well, as if it is a genre movie and not take it as seriously as they should, and I think that you know our view is that this movie deserves serious consideration. Certainly it’s been made with a level of ambition, care, and attention that’s as meaningful as anything I’ve ever worked on. I think if we can get to that stage, I think we’ve got a good shot, because I think that on a filmmaking basis this is, in my opinion, you know, as impressive as anything that’s come out this year.”

Of course, like many other folks, I have my doubts that folks of the Academy won’t have some implicit bias, with this being a big blockbuster. Chernin agrees that if they plan on going in with this bias, there isn’t a lot he could do to stop it, which is unfortunate. Of course, the big game-changer came in 2004 when The Return of the King swept the awards, and unlike that movie, this one seems more likely to be up the Academy’s alley.

“I actually think it’s a very Academy-like movie, and that it is one of the most moral movies that has been made this year,” Chernin continued. “It’s a movie about what is morality about? What is the morality of leadership about? What is one’s soul about? How do you struggle with the balance between one’s fundamental humanity versus the desire for revenge? This is sort of what Caesar is struggling with — he is torn between his desire for revenge and his obligation and his responsibility towards the people he’s leading,” he observed. “In my opinion these are really important themes, the kind of themes the Academy voters have historically responded to.”

Will it be enough for members to vote? We’ll have to wait and see. But what do you think? Does War for the Planet of the Apes deserve to be taken seriously at next year’s Oscars? Let us know down below!

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SOURCE: Deadline

Joseph Jammer Medina is an author, podcaster, and editor-in-chief of LRM. A graduate of Chapman University's Dodge College of Film and Television, Jammer's always had a craving for stories. From movies, television, and web content to books, anime, and manga, he's always been something of a story junkie.