The Way of Water’ helped bring the masses back to movie theaters – GoldDerby

James Camerons The sci-fi epic Avatar stormed the 2010 Oscars with nine nominations and three wins for cinematography, production design and visual effects. The film lost that elusive best picture trophy to the more intimate war drama The Hurt Locker. Thirteen years later, Cameron has returned to the Oscars with the sequel, Avatar: The Way of Water. New film technology, great special effects and an emotional story about family ties combine to create the biggest box-office hit of the year. Will that be enough for The Way of Water to earn the top honor that the original film narrowly lost?

Avatar: The Way of Water is one of this year’s 10 nominees for Best Picture. It is alongside All Quiet on the Western Front, The Banshees of Inisherin, Elvis, Everything Everywhere All at Once, The Fabelmans, Tar, Top Gun: Maverick, Triangle of Sadness” and “Women Talking”. Cameron’s film received a total of four nominations. In addition to its bid for best picture, the film also competes in production design, sound and visual effects.

SEE Interview with Joe Letteri: “Avatar: The Way of Water” VFX Supervisor

Since “The Way of Water” missed a cinematography nomination, the sequel cannot repeat all three wins of its predecessor. However, it appears to be a shoe for at least one of those categories. The film has held a comfortable lead in our combined visual effects ratings all season. As of this writing, winning this race has the unanimous support of all Gold Derby pundits and editors. Production design and sound could prove more difficult based on our ratings. It currently ranks third in Production Design behind Babylon and Elvis. As of this writing, however, three pundits are predicting The Way of Water will pull off a surprise win here. The film also ranks third in our combined ratings for the sound category, right behind best picture contenders Top Gun: Maverick and All Quiet on the Western Front.

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The film may not have as many chances as other nominees this year, but “Avatar” comes to the table with strong arguments for the top prize: it’s the biggest film of the year. “Der Weg des Wassers” spent an amazing seven weeks as number one at the domestic box office. Its worldwide gross is over $2.2 billion, making it the highest-grossing film of 2022 and the third-highest-grossing film of all time. These numbers are important to Hollywood filmmakers, who see evidence every day that the cinematic experience is in free fall. Movie theaters have been closing at an alarming rate over the past year, and it’s not just affecting smaller chains. In January, Regal Cinemas announced the closure of 39 domestic houses, including in major markets like Los Angeles and New York. It’s fair to think that voters will be drawn to a best picture nominee who actually gets butts in the seats.

SEE AACTA International Awards: “Avatar: The Way of Water” wins Best Picture

Not only is Cameron’s film the kind of large-scale story that begs to be seen on the biggest screen possible, it also evokes a time when the Oscars bestowed their highest honor on the biggest and most popular film. Braveheart, Titanic, Gladiator and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King are the Best Picture winners, reflecting an era when the general public cared a lot, and very much, about going to the cinema to go in the result of the Academy Awards. In the era of the Oscars’ extended preference, blockbusters had a much harder time claiming Best Picture. More intimate fare usually prevails, and last year the academy picked its first winner from a streaming service: “CODA.” Those in the industry who are concerned about bringing the public to the theater may want to change course.

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This is where the cinematic experience of Avatar: The Way of Water comes in and is the film’s most important asset in the Oscar race. As you sit in the darkened auditorium, the lush world of Pandora unfolds before you. An IMAX screen envelopes you in floating mountains, dense alien forests and whimsical underwater locations. You sit in amazement as characters dash through the skies on awe-inspiring beasts and beneath huge waves. The most common chorus you’ll hear upon exiting the theater is, “That’s why I go to the movies.” In a world where the viability of the current cinema business model is on shaky ground, The Way of Water is an enticing choice for best film for those in the industry who want to keep the magic of cinema alive.

This article is part of Gold Derby’s Profile of the Oscar Nominees series, which spotlights the 2022 Best Picture nominees.

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