ALICE IN WONDERLAND for Best Picture?!

     October 16, 2010

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Tim Burton’s down-the-rabbit-hole blockbuster Alice in Wonderland is set to receive a ginormous Oscar-push from Disney according to Deadline. While this may strike some as odd, considering the mixed-reviews the film received (it currently sits at 51% on RottenTomatoes), Wonderland producers Joe Roth and Dick Zanuck keenly believe the film deserves some sort of recognition – not just in technical awards, mind you, but in overall Best Picture and Best Director categories as well.

Whatever your overall thoughts are on the film (I thought it was a convoluted mess that was hard to follow, much less enjoy) there’s no denying that Wonderland was an enormously successful financial achievement. Worldwide the film tallied over a billion dollars which helped it secure a place as one of the top 10 moneymakers of all time (not adjusted for inflation of course).  Hit the jump for more:

“I think it would be terribly disappointing not to make the Top Ten,” Zanuck told Pete Hammond. “We’re not just mercenary about that. You can’t make a billion dollar gross unless millions of people are satisfied with a picture. The whole point of the new rule of 10 Best Picture nominees was not to exclude the most popular pictures of the year such as The Dark Knight. It was like pooh-poohing the audience. There should be recognition that you don’t get that business unless there were a lot of repeats and broad-based appeal and true creative accomplishment. That was the point of that discussion.”

Comparing Burton’s fantasy to Christopher Nolan’s Batman epic is something that strikes me as odd. While I agree the new Academy rules are meant to broaden the range of films permitted in the Best Picture race I don’t believe the overall purpose was to include films that were successful at the box office, but mediocre in quality. Last year’s Oscars saw the inclusion of such films as District 9, Up, Avatar and The Blind Side, films that received just as much notoriety for their overall execution as their financial achievements (okay, The Blind Side was weak, but at least it had Sandra Bullock’s performance). The Dark Knight was a rare case in which a blockbuster over exceeded expectations both artistically and commercially. Wonderland was financially successful but you’d have a hard time finding anyone who actually enjoyed it, much less thought it deserved an inclusion at the Academy Awards.

If Burton’s film does manage to squeeze into the race I feel it will be an example of studio tampering, especially considering the amount of stellar films that deserve recognition ahead of Wonderland, including Nolan’s Inception, Matthew Vaugn’s Kick Ass and David Fincher’s The Social Network to name a few. Keep in mind, studios have yet to release their Oscar hopefuls. So while Zanuck may remain optimistic, something tells me that Alice in Wonderland will sputter in the Oscar nomination tallies, much like it sputtered quickly from filmgoers’ minds.  What do you think?  Would you want Wonderland to be nominated for Best Picture?

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