Blade Runner 2049 was a resounding success in every way save financially. The ambitious, artistically challenging sequel to a 35-years-prior film managed to dazzle audiences while also creating admirers out of those who weren’t even necessarily big fans of the original. But one group that didn’t love it were Oscar voters. The movie failed to score a nomination for Best Picture, despite three out of four of director Denis Villeneuve’s previous films landing nominations in many of the major categories, including a Best Picture nomination for 2016's Arrival. And now, in a new interview with CBC News, Villeneuve explains why he’s not that surprised the Academy didn’t hand his latest sci-fi spectacle a similar recognition—and if you thought money may have a little something to do with it, then you and he have something in common.
“It’s very uncommon for a movie that didn’t do well at the box office in the United States to get a nomination for best picture,” affirming what basically every study of Best Picture Oscar nominations reaffirms: Make us some money, or else. Given that Blade Runner 2049 is running a projected loss of around $80 million for Warner Bros., that makes sense. Also, it means all those highfaluting artistic types—the people actually responsible for submitting nominations—are way more swayed by financial considerations when they’re considering what art to give a prize to than they’d presumably care to admit.
Villeneuve wasn’t complaining about the snub, to be clear. He was understandably proud of the film’s five nominations for technical achievements and cinematography (which, holy hell, Roger Deakins deserves a Oscar at the very least for his work), but expressed regret that Hans Zimmer and Benjamin Wallfisch didn’t receive a nomination for the soundtrack. “I think what [the composers] did for the movie, the score of the movie, was by far one of the best this year,” Villeneuve said. That being said, Zimmer is already nominated for his work on Dunkirk, so he’s probably just as happy to not compete against himself.