The 2016 Sci-Fi Oscars - Who Would Win Our Dream Academy Awards?

Wednesday, 24 February 2016 - 5:32PM
The Martian
Mad Max: Fury Road
Wednesday, 24 February 2016 - 5:32PM

Sci-fi tends to be somewhat under-represented at the Oscars, but this year the genre did pretty well for itself. Two of the eight Best Picture nominees are unabashedly sci-fi (Mad Max: Fury Road and The Martian), in addition to the usual nods for technical categories like Visual Effects, Sound Mixing, and Sound Editing. But there were still a few egregious snubs (*cough*Ex Machina*cough*), as well as a few great performances that were overlooked simply because they were in big genre blockbusters, so here are our picks for the sci-fi version of the Academy Awards.

Best Picture

WINNER- Ex Machina

Ex Machina was our most anticipated film of last year, and it still managed to exceed our expectations. Impeccably well-acted, ceaselessly thoughtful, and ultimately devastating, this was one of the best movies of the year in any genre (and certainly better than any of the films that were nominated for the real Oscars). 


Mad Max: Fury Road
The Martian
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Z for Zachariah


Best Director

WINNER - George Miller, Mad Max: Fury Road

Based on its script alone, Mad Max wouldn't have even been considered for Best Picture. But George Miller's frenetic, gleeful, slightly insane direction and absolutely stunning visual creativity elevated a (sometimes disappointingly) conventional chase movie to a visually spectacular, groundbreaking piece of cinematography. (Read our full review here.)


J.J. Abrams, Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Alex Garland, Ex Machina
Ridley Scott, The Martian
Craig Zobel, Z for Zachariah


Best Actress

WINNER - Alicia Vikander, Ex Machina

Ex Machina wouldn't have been nearly as successful without Alicia Vikander's sensitive, nuanced performance as a sentient artificial intelligence. She portrayed both Ava's victimization and surprising amount of agency to a tee, and managed to seem relatable while keeping Ava's true motivations opaque.


Charlize Theron, Mad Max: Fury Road
Daisy Ridley, Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Margot Robbie, Z for Zachariah 
Britt Robertson, Tomorrowland


Best Actor

Winner - Matt Damon, The Martian

Matt Damon is always a talented actor, but the part of Mark Watney was absolutely made for him. At times, it felt as though you were just sort of watching Matt Damon being Matt Damon, but it was so funny, endearing, and entertaining that it hardly mattered.


Chiwetel Ejiofor, Z for Zachariah
Domhnall Gleeson, Ex Machina
James McAvoy, Victor Frankenstein
Arnold Schwarzenegger, Maggie


Best Supporting Actress

WINNER - Raffey Cassidy, Tomorrowlandimp>

Raffey Cassidy, who would have been only eleven years old when Tomorrowland was filmed, was hands-down the best thing about the movie, showing more range in her performance (as a robot, somewhat ironically) than many adult actors would have been capable of. 



Jessica Chastain, 
The Martian

Natalie Dormer, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay pt 2
Jena Malone, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay pt 2

Naomi Watts, The Divergent Series: Insurgent


Best Supporting Actor

Winner - Oscar Isaac, Ex Machina

Was there ever a more memorable scene than Oscar Isaac's simultaneously hilarious and unsettling dance scene with his pet robot? I think not.


Donald Sutherland, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay pt 2
George Clooney, Tomorrowland

Michael Pena, Ant-Man/The Martian
Miles Teller, The Divergent Series: Insurgent

Best Performance in a Terrible Movie

WINNER: Raffey Cassidy, Tomorrowland

This year had a slightly disappointing crop of sci-fi movies, with the above Best Picture nominees as pretty much the only exceptions (just look at the length of our Worst Movies list versus our best-of list). But there were several performances that managed to transcend the mediocre-to-terrible script they had to work with, which honestly, is even more impressive than turning in a great performance in a great movie. 


Michael B. Jordan, Fantastic Four
James McAvoy, Victor Frankenstein
Arnold Schwarzenegger, Terminator: Genisys
Miles Teller, The Divergent Series: Insurgent


Best Visual Effects

WINNER - Mad Max: Fury Road

There's no contest here. Mad Max is more a piece of visual art than anything else, and whether you subscribe to the Mad Max hype or not, there's no denying that dazzling, sumptuous visual style. 


Jupiter Ascending
Jurassic World
Star Wars: The Force Awakens


Best Original Score

WINNER -  Star Wars: The Force Awakens

The score has always been one of the most iconic aspects of the Star Wars franchise, and John Williams' return did not disappoint. What Star Wars fan didn't get a huge smile on their face when the main title music swelled up?

Science Fiction
Sci-Fi Movies
The Martian
Mad Max: Fury Road

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