'Gravity' Oscar deep dive
Release date: Oct. 4, 2013
DVD release date: Feb. 25
Run time: 1 hour, 31 mins
Box office: Opening weekend: $55.8 million; Total domestic box office: $268.4 million; Worldwide gross to date: $701.0 million
Rotten Tomatoes score: 97 percent
Gravity movie math: (2001: A Space Odyssey + Apollo 13) x (Moon + Alien)
Tweetable description: Two astronauts get lost in space after their shuttle is riddled by high-speed debris. Time is running out. But the view is fantastic.
What Owen Gleiberman said: The miracle of the movie is the way that director Alfonso Cuarón, using special effects and 3-D with a nearly poetic simplicity and command, places the audience right up there in space along with [the astronauts]. Gravity is an awesome technological daydream of a movie, one that might be classified as science fiction, except that it isn’t a futuristic fantasy. It’s a tale of disaster and grief and survival rooted in the possibilities of space travel as they exist today.
Number of Oscar nods: 10 — Best Picture, Best Actress, Best Cinematography, Best Director, Best Original Score, Best Editing, Best Production Design, Best Sound Editing, Best Sound Mixing, Best Visual Effects.
Movie’s Oscar history: Sandra Bullock won the Oscar for Best Actress in 2010 for The Blind Side. Alfonso Cuarón, who in addition to being up for Director, is also nominated for Best Film Editing and credited as a producer for Best Picture. He was previously nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Editing for Children of Men and Best Original Screenplay for Y Tu Mamá También. This is the sixth Oscar nomination for cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki, who’s never won despite his collaborations with Cuarón, Terrence Malick, and Tim Burton. Special effects supervisor Neil Corbould won the Oscar for Best Visual Effects in 2001 for Gladiator and now has four total nominations. Visual effects supervisor Timothy Webber was previously nominated for The Dark Knight. Joanne Wollard, one of three Gravity nominees for Production Design, was nominated in 1988 for Hope and Glory. Sound editor Glenn Freemantle was previously nominated for Slumdog Millionaire. Sound mixer Chris Munro won the Oscar for Best Sound in 2002 for Black Hawk Down and was also nominated for The Mummy in 2000. Sound mixer Skip Lievsay now has six Oscar nominations.
What it has won thus far: Golden Globes (Best Director); BAFTA (Best British Film, Best Cinematography, Best Sound, Best Special Visual Effects); Directors Guild Awards (Outstanding Directorial Achievement); Producers Guild Awards (Outstanding Producer — tied with 12 Years a Slave)
Why it should win: If Gravity wins, it will be the biggest blockbuster since The Return of the King to be named Best Picture. It’s a nice pat on the back for Hollywood when the big winner is something with wide appeal. But that’s not the reason Gravity should win. What’s most impressive is the film’s blend of technical innovation and artistic brilliance, fused into a popcorn-popping thrill-ride that has the rare ability to inspire wonder. Hollywood has gone to space before, but never like this.
Why it shouldn’t win: You could quibble about some of the scientific missteps that the film failed to fix in its screenplay. And when it’s compared to its biggest rival, 12 Years a Slave, Gravity can suddenly feel a little slight.
Vegas Odds: 4-1, according to Las Vegas Sports Betting, second only to 12 Years a Slave
Best Line: “Well, it reminds me of a story…” — George Clooney’s Matt Kowalski
Worst Line: “The ropes are too loose, I’m pulling you with me. You have to let me go, or we both die.” — Kowalski, before floating away into space. (Man, that was a tense scene, but even my meager high-school physics education sniffed out that this crucial development didn’t exactly mesh with science.)