Welcome to The Hunger Games Countdown, our resident expert's continued guide to all things Hunger Games on the way to the film's sequel, Catching Fire.
Jennifer Lawrence’s Saturday Night Live episode may have been abysmal and quite possibly one of the worst of the season, but who can blame Lawrence? She was natural enough and tried to play along. When the writing is that unfunny all-around, there’s just so much even an Academy Award-nominated actress can do. So while her disappointing stint on SNL comes and goes, and hopefully rarely gets revisited on YouTube, Lawrence still has her Oscar nomination and, soon enough, that nod could become a win – and maybe even with a little help from Katniss.
Just because Lawrence is nominated for Best Actress in a Leading Role for her work in Silver Linings Playbook doesn’t mean her performance in The Hunger Games can’t have an effect on the vote. The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences is comprised of people and whether or not a nomination honors a single performance, those people are susceptible to outside forces and, considering The Hunger Games was a cinematic extravaganza that went on to please the large majority of critics, become the third-highest domestic earner of the year, and amass a legion of die-hard fans, it’s very likely that the Girl on Fire is in the back of voters’ minds.
Looking at the five ladies in contention, we can also narrow down the competition rather quickly. While little Quvenzhané Wallis is a revelation and her becoming the youngest Best Actress nominee in history is a thrill, Beasts of the Southern Wild will likely go on to enjoy a presence at the Academy Awards, but fall short of any wins. As one of my top 10 films of the year, it breaks my heart that Juan Antonio Bayona’s The Impossible missed out on a Best Picture nod, only going on to secure a single nomination. Naomi Watts is incredible and deserves to be in the running, but just like the film itself, she’ll fly under the radar.
Emmanuelle Riva, on the other hand, does have a chance. She’s been nominated for just about every Best Actress honor out there, has already turned a few into wins, and the Academy seems to love her work and Amour as a whole just as much. Not only is the film nominated for Best Foreign Language Film, but Best Picture, too. Back in 2007 Marion Cotillard snuck in and won Best Actress for La Vie en Rose and that’s a foreign-language film that didn’t get half the amount of love Amour is getting. If anyone steals the win from the frontrunners, it’s Riva.
That leaves us with the two obvious choices: the Golden Globe winner for Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy, Lawrence, and Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama, Jessica Chastain. Silver Linings Playbook is my top film of the year and Lawrence offers up an enigmatic and undeniably enchanting performance in it, but Chastain deserves the win. However, I also thought director Kathryn Bigelow deserved the win and look what happened to her; not even a nomination! It does seem like we’ve got a little Zero Dark Thirty backlash going on.
Tack on the fact that Lawrence is currently one of the most delightful and popular ladies in Hollywood, and all of this could be enough for Lawrence to bypass Chastain for the win. Zero Dark Thirty is an incredible accomplishment and Chastain is riveting in it, but Lawrence is an entertainer. Whether she’s picking on Bradley Cooper in Silver Linings Playbook, fighting for her family and friends in The Hunger Games or up on stage delivering an appropriately witty acceptance speech, her presence lightens the mood and simply makes you feel good. Nobody thought Sandra Bullock would pull off the win for The Blind Side back in 2009, and I’d like to bet the feel-good nature of that movie, her performance and personality had something to do with it. Bullock even managed to claim the honor with a Razzie-winning performance that same year. If she could win for The Blind Side with All About Steve in her back pocket, Lawrence should certainly be more likely to win with a Silver Linings Playbook/Hunger Games pairing. Plus, not very many people went to see House at the End of the Street, right?
(Special thanks to Rudie Obias for sparking the discussion.)
Other Hunger Games Nods
With The Hunger Games entirely missing the cut at the Academy Awards and the large majority of awards events, sadly we Katniss fans are left with less to root for than we once hoped. However, Hunger Games costume designer Judianna Makovsky is still in the running for Excellence in Fantasy Film at the Costume Designers Guild Awards ceremony, but she does have some pretty tough competition - Cloud Atlas, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Mirror Mirror and Snow White and the Huntsman.
Hunger Games Wins
We hoped, but as expected, The Hunger Games was relegated to the fan-based award ceremonies and, also as expected, the movie won big time at each and every one of them. Hunger Games may have lost out to The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2 for Movie of the Year at the MTV Movie Awards, but it still dominated the event, winning Best Male Performance for Josh Hutcherson, Best Female Performance for Lawrence, Best On-screen Transformation for Elizabeth Banks, and Best Fight for Lawrence, Hutcherson and Alexander Ludwig.
Teen Choice Awards voters gushed over The Hunger Games as well, honoring the film with Choice Movie, Actor and Actress in the Sci-fi/Fantasy category, Choice Movie Chemistry for Lawrence and Amandla Stenberg, Choice Movie Liplock for Lawrence and Hutcherson, Choice Movie Villain for Ludwig and Choice Movie Scene Stealer: Male for Liam Hemsworth. The event also put author Suzanne Collins in the spotlight, giving her the Choice Book award for the entire Hunger Games trilogy.
Hunger Games also hit it big at the People’s Choice Awards, snagging Favorite Action Movie, Favorite Movie overall, Favorite Face of Heroism for Lawrence, Favorite On-screen Chemistry and even Favorite Movie Franchise, even with just one film having made its way to the public. As for the critics, they were swayed by The Hunger Games as well giving Lawrence the Best Actress in an Action Movie honor.
Hunger Games Awards Season Future
Will The Hunger Games franchise ever go on to earn an Academy Award nod or win? If Lawrence didn’t get nominated this time around, that’d be a firm no for any acting awards, but with Lionsgate switching gears and going with the Thanksgiving time release, Catching Fire and beyond could keep the momentum up just enough for some recognition in the Costume Design, Makeup and Hairstyling, Visual Effects and Production Design categories. As for those audience-driven awards, it’s pretty clear that folks are going Hunger Games crazy. The franchise should be a sure thing at the MTV Movie Awards, the Teen Choice Awards and the like for the next few years, just like The Twilight Saga. However, should Catching Fire and the Mockingjay films live up to or exceed the standards set by the first film, the fire could spread far beyond that.
Enjoy the rest of awards season and here’s to more Hunger Games honors down the line!
The Hunger Games Countdown runs here on Movies.com every other Wednesday. There are 302 days until the release of Catching Fire.