Henry posted the latest Saturn Award nominations earlier today, and I have to say, it strikes that special part of me usually reserved for bogus “parent groups” and pretentious lists (hehe). See, I was under the impression that the Saturn Awards were for SciFi/Fantasy/Horror, with an emphasis on the first two. I was also under the impression that Awards in general were reserved for, well, good things.
Apparently these are wild misconceptions, and instead, the Saturn Awards are in place to reward just about anyone who makes moving pictures, no matter the subject or the quality, and it’s a damn shame.
There are already plenty of awards out there for the general movie/tv industry: Golden Globes, SGA, WGA, DGA, Oscars, BAFTA, etc. The idea of a dedicated Genre award is a great one, but clearly the Saturns have lost their way. Examples, you say? Let’s take a look here.
Eagle Eye is included in the “Science Fiction Film” category. Granted, a group that can follow you everywhere and communicate through any electronics is technically some level of Science Fiction, but I don’t see how it contributes to the greater tapestry of SciFi. If Eagle Eye is a SciFi movie, then the CSIs are SciFi TV shows. Even if you accurately argue that it belongs in the category, the movie held a 27% on Rotten Tomatoes! The Day The Earth Stood Still, also sharing a nomination in the category, had a 20%. Was there such a dearth of quality SciFi last year that two such films need be included here?
Hancock and Wanted stretch the traditional definition of Fantasy, and Hancock stretches the definition of nomination-quality, as well. I somehow doubt many people found The Mummy 3 very horrific, but at least it is undoubtedly genre. Then we get to the most baffling category: “Action/Adventure/Thriller Film.”
Gran Torino, Quantum of Solace, Valkyrie. These are not genre films. They are not SciFi, they are not Fantasy, they are not Horror. They should NOT be honored by the Saturn Awards. This category is mind-boggling in its inclusion. It just doesn’t need to be there! This also opens up all the acting/directing categories to nominate people from these and similar films, completely destroying the “SciFi/Fantasy/Horror” basis of the Saturn Awards.
The horrors of the nomination list extend into TV as well. Heroes, of which the second season and the majority of the first half of season 3 (2008′s episodes) were nearly universally derided, is nominated for best network show. Leverage, which is one of my favorite shows on TV, and easily my favorite new show this year, is not “SciFi/Fantasy/Horror,” and neither is The Closer, 24, or Breaking Bad.
The distinction that I’d like the Saturn Awards to draw here, is that having an element or two of SciFi/Fantasy/Horror does not necessarily make a movie or TV show fall into that genre. Also, just because something is recognizable and also SciFi/Fantasy/Horror, it does not mean it has to be recognized with an award or even a nomination. The list of nominations of any awards should give me an indication of the best things in those categories, so I can see what I may have missed. This ridiculous list gives me one indication and one indication only: The Saturn Awards, if they ever were, should no longer be held as relevant to the SciFi/Fantasy/Horror community. It’s a shame, but hey, there’s always the far superior Hugo Awards.
That’s my opinion, and it’s right.