Could this be the first Star Wars win at the Oscars in close to 40 years?

By Nick Romano
January 13, 2020 at 02:53 PM EST

In light of the 2020 Oscar nominations, announced on Monday morning, we might soon be looking at the first Academy Award win for a Star Wars movie in nearly 37 years.

In 1984, Return of the Jedi, the final chapter in the original Star Wars film trilogy, received a statuette for Best Visual Effects. It was given out at the time as a Specialty Achievement Award, as opposed to an award from a competitive category. (Best Original Score, for example, was a competitive category with multiple nominees in consideration, including John Williams‘ composition work on Episode VI.) This win was also the last time a title from the still-growing roster of Star Wars films received a golden statue from Hollywood’s biggest ceremony.

This year, The Rise of Skywalker, the finale to the newest Star Wars trilogy as well as the larger Skywalker Saga, received three total nominations, including for Visual Effects, Original Score, and Sound Editing. How does this stack up to the rest of the franchise?

Critics and audiences seemed vastly divided on what the production team, led by director J.J. Abrams, did with the story. Yet, the hope for Disney and Lucasfilm, at least, is that the blockbuster adds to the studios’ prestige come Oscars night. History may tell a different story.

Since the days of George Lucas, the father of the franchise, attempts by the Disney-owned Lucasfilm to garner awards glory have been fruitless, though many have received nominations over the years. The Force Awakens remains the most successful of these newer releases in this regard with five nominations in below-the-line categories (meaning, non of the top awards like acting, screenwriting, and directing). The Rise of Skywalker stills marks a potentially momentous moment for Williams, whose nomination this year marks his 52nd total Oscar nomination, which breaks his previous record established with The Last Jedi. He won five Oscars previously, one of which was for A New Hope.

Here’s a rundown of Star Wars‘ history at the Oscars, by the numbers.

Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope (1977)

Oscar wins: 7
Art Direction-Set Decoration
Costume Design
Best Sound
Film Editing
Visual Effects
Original Score (John Williams)
Sound Effects (given as a Special Achievement Award)

Oscar nominations: 10
Best Picture
Best Director (George Lucas)
Supporting Actor (Alex Guinness)
Original Screenplay (George Lucas)

Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

Oscar wins: 2
Best Sound
Visual Effects (given as a Special Achievement Award)

Oscar nominations: 3
Art Direction-Set Decoration
Original Score (John Williams)

Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi (1983)

Oscar wins: 1
Visual Effects (given as a Specialty Award)

Oscar nominations: 5
Art Direction-Set Decoration
Best Sound
Sound Editing
Original Score (John Williams)

Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens (2015)

Oscar wins: 0

Oscar nominations: 5
Film Editing
Original Score (John Williams)
Visual Effects
Sound Mixing
Sound Editing

Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi (2017)

Oscar wins: 0

Oscar nominations: 4

Visual Effects
Original Score (John Williams)
Sound Editing
Sound Mixing

Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker (2019)

Oscar wins: TBD

Oscar nominations: 3
Original Score
Visual Effects
Sound Editing

Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace (1999)

Oscar wins: 0

Oscar nominations: 3
Best Sound
Sound Editing
Visual Effects

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016)

Oscar wins: 0

Oscar nominations: 2
Sound Mixing
Visual Effects

Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018)

Oscar wins: 0

Oscar nominations: 1
Visual Effects

Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith (2005)

Oscar wins: 0

Oscar nominations: 1
Makeup

Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones (2002)

Oscar wins: 0

Oscar nominations: 1
Visual Effects

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