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A long time ago at the 1978 Academy Awards, Star Wars won six competitive Oscars plus a special achievement award. More than four decades later, will trophies for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker bookend the series?
On Monday, Rise of Skywalker earned nominations for its score (composer John Williams, who won an Oscar for the 1978 film, nabbed his 47th nomination); sound editing (Matthew Wood and David Acord); and VFX (Roger Guyett, Neal Scanlan, Patrick Tubach and Dominic Tuohy), with a mix of practical and digital effects.
George Lucas’ original 1978 film earned Oscars for art direction, costume design, editing, score, sound (now sound mixing) and visual effects (in the pre-digital era, largely driven by models and miniatures). Additionally, Ben Burtt received a special achievement award for the movie’s sound effects, including the iconic swoosh of the lightsaber and beeps of R2D2. The game-changing feature earned additional nominations for best picture, director, screenplay and supporting actor for Alec Guinness.
Its sequel, The Empire Strikes Back, went on to win Acaemy Awards in 1981 for sound and VFX, which is the last time the franchise won competitive Oscars. Empire, as well as 1983’s Return of the Jedi, each received special achievement awards for VFX.
Since then, the prequels of Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace (1999) collected three Oscar noms, and 2002’s Attack of the Clones and 2005’s Revenge of the Sith received one apiece.
More recently, J.J. Abrams’ The Force Awakens (2015) earned five noms, while 2017’s The Last Jedi scored four.
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