The movie categories have always been interesting ones for the Airlock Alpha Portal Awards, especially at times when readers have questioned how much of a "genre" film certain productions are, and if the biggest box office winners are usually the winners here as well.
The fact is, the movie categories are highly unpredictable. Past winners have included box office winners, but box office losers as well. Some winners come out around the time of the awards, which give them a little bit of a boost. Others have been out for almost a year. And many of us have yet to project who will win acting categories -- it's almost a surprise every single time.
But this year's main movie category is filled with superheroes, fighters and wizards. It's the final time we'll see a Harry Potter film here, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2." But interestingly enough, there have only been two other Harry Potter films that have won this category in the past -- "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire" in 2006 and "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" in 2008.
"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1" was nominated last year, but it was beat by "Inception," and not by a close margin either.
It is the final film, so there will be some extra attention to it this year as the Portal Awards continue on. But it has some stuff competition. "The Avengers" is directed by a favorite of many Airlock Alpha readers, Joss Whedon, and is the third highest-grossing film of all time. This past weekend, it pushed its domestic total to $606.3 million and its international gross to $837.9 million. That means Whedon's film has now grossed $1.4 billion total. Wow.
And some of its competition is internal, like "Captain America: The First Avenger," which had nowhere near the box office, and may actually get a bit forgotten by those wanting to vote for the team effort. And Marvel completed its trifecta of nominations with "X-Men: First Class," a prequel outing by director Matthew Vaughn that surprised many fans in a strong story and great action.
Sadly, it might not have been the best year for release for "The Hunger Games," a critically acclaimed film that tackles the dystopian future from the mind of author Suzanne Collins. While many of us here at Airlock Alpha thought it would be a shoo-in for Best Movie, once the nominations were announced, it became anyone's game. Anyone's game.
"Avengers" was written by Whedon and Zak Penn based on the comic book from Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. "Captain America: The First Avenger" was written by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely based on the comic book from Joe Simon and Kirby.
"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2," was written by Steve Kloves based on the novel by J.K. Rowling, and directed by David Yates. "The Hunger Games" was written by Gary Ross, Collins and Billy Ray based on the novel by Collins, and directed by Ross. "X-Men: First Class" was written by Ashley Miller, Zack Stentz, Jane Goldman, Vaughn, Sheldon Turner and Bryan Singer.
In the Best Actor/Movie category, we have a few new faces and some familiar ones. Daniel Radcliffe from "Deathly Hallows" has been here before, and in fact, has won this category just once in 2006 for "Goblet of Fire." Robert Downey Jr., nominated for "Avengers," has also been a winner here in the past, in 2010 for "Iron Man 2."
But Michael Fassbender is here. Sure, "Prometheus" (which was not eligible this year) may not have been the box office gold that many suspected, he did play an excellent Magneto in "X-Men: First Class." And he has a chance to win one for the bad guys in the X-Men, considering the only other winner for this category was Patrick Stewart in 2001 for "X-Men," and he was a good guy.
Mark Ruffalo was a last-minute addition to "Avengers" playing a character that audiences struggled with through both Eric Bana and Edward Norton. But it seems the third time was a charm, and fans quickly adapted to a more Bill Bixby-style Bruce Banner and a much more interesting Hulk.
And while Oscars can't seem to figure out how to honor this guy, it's great that the Portal Awards has. Andy Serkis, who was seen as the CGI-created Ceasar in "Rise of the Planet of the Apes," will have his chance to shine. But the question becomes -- can Airlock Alpha readers recognize such motion-control work that the Oscars cannot? We'll find out.
Finally, in the Best Actress/Movie category, we almost had two nominations here for Jennifer Lawrence. Not just for an amazing turn as Katniss Everdeen in "The Hunger Games," but also as Mystique in "X-Men: First Class." We ended up with just one, but that has to say something about Lawrence, who this time last year, was almost completely unknown.
Her competition is all superheroes and witches, however. Hayley Atwell had a great turn as Peggy Carter in "Captain America," and with that, leads off the list of nominees this year. Scarlett Johansson followed up a great outing a couple years ago in "Iron Man 2" to reprise her role as Black Widow for "The Avengers." January Jones, best known before for her work in the AMC series "Mad Men" crystallized audiences as Emma Frost in "X-Men: First Class."
But they all may have to face a swan song boost for Emma Watson in what is her final nomination in the Harry Potter franchise for "The Deathly Hallows, Part 2." And she's a tough one to beat. Although Radcliffe has won the counterpart category only once, Watson has won this category three times -- in 2006 for "Goblet of Fire," in 2008 for "Order of the Phoenix" and last year for "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1."
How this race ends up will be the most interesting. But you can participate right now. Voting for the 2012 Airlock Alpha Portal Awards continues through July 25, and you can vote once per day until then. Get started right now by using our handy interactive ballot.
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