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Godzilla Minus One Was One Of The Highest Rated Films Of 2023, And THIS Is How The Academy Responds? Let's Talk

 Godzilla Minus One.
Godzilla Minus One.

I’m upset. Okay, scratch that. I’m livid! Just last year, I wrote about how I thought that Godzilla Minus One should get nominated for Best Picture, and it totally should have! It’s one of the highest rated movies of 2023, and I don’t think I’ve heard anybody say a single negative thing about it.

In fact, in our year-end list of the best movies of 2023, we put Godzilla Minus One above every single movie that has since been nominated for Best Picture at the 2024 Academy Awards. Not only that, but the only movie that our staff deemed to be better than Godzilla Minus One was Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse (which our very own Sean O’Connell had something to say about how he thought that it should have gotten a nomination for Best Picture).

So, why am I so angry? Well…

Godzilla roaring in the Godzilla Minus One trailer
Godzilla roaring in the Godzilla Minus One trailer

The Academy Decided To Use All 10 Slots For Best Picture This Year, And One Of The Highest Rated Films Is Absent

Look, I’m biased, okay? I’ve seen every single Godzilla movie ever made from every single era, and Godzilla Minus One is my favorite Godzilla movie ever. So, yeah. I’m always pushing for the King of the Monsters to get the recognition that I think he deserves.

But, here’s the thing. Godzilla Minus One has a Rotten Tomatoes score of 98%. And that’s the Tomatometer number, which accumulates the scores of actual critics. I’m not talking about the audience score, which usually tends to be a bit higher, as the audience scoring these films are typically already fans of the genre in question. However, the audience score on Rotten Tomatoes is ALSO 98%.

What that means is that this movie, which features the world’s most recognizable Kaiju, was a hit with both the general public, and the hoity-toity critics. Now, I don’t think that reviews are everything, but come on now. Come on! Doesn’t that mean anything to the Academy?

I mean, not to put down any of the Best Picture nominees for 2024, but Bradley Cooper’s Maestro, which is a film about Leonard Bernstein’s life, has a respectable (but not 98% great!) Tomatometer score of 80%, and an audience score of 60%!

Honestly, I wouldn’t normally beat up on Maestro, since I actually thought it was pretty good (for the most part), but Godzilla Minus One was far and away the better movie, and it has the critical and commercial scores to back it up! So, why didn’t it get the 10th spot rather than Maestro? Oh, but that’s only just the beginning of my ire.

Ryunosuke Kamiki stands looking up in horror in Godziila Minus One.
Ryunosuke Kamiki stands looking up in horror in Godziila Minus One.

Godzilla Minus One Wasn’t Even Nominated For Best International Feature

Okay, now for this one, I kind of blame Japan. Because they COULD have put this up for Best International Feature, as it was eligible, but instead, the powers that be put up a movie called Perfect Days, which I never even heard of until I saw that Godzilla Minus One wasn’t even nominated for Best International Feature.

When I wrote that article before about how I thought Minus One should be up for Best Picture, I kind of wrote it with the knowledge that of course it wasn’t going to get nominated. The Academy barely ever nominates worthy sci-fi movies (Like, how in the hell did Ex Machina not get nominated for Best Picture back in 2015? That still boggles my mind). And the Academy has never nominated a Kaiju movie. Not in its almost 100 year history.

But, for Godzilla Minus One to not even be nominated for Best International Feature? Now that hurts. Again, I kind of put the onus on Japan for this one since they could have entered it for Best International Feature, but they had more faith in Perfect Days. That said, my torment extends even further.

Godzilla roaring in Godzilla Minus One
Godzilla roaring in Godzilla Minus One

Godzilla Minus One Wasn't Even Nominated for Best Sound!

I still remember when I went to go see the movie with my then-six-year-old son. My boy was fine with it, but there were actually a number of other parents who brought their kids to see the film, and the one thing that I’ll never forget was this poor little girl who was one row ahead of us.

Whenever Godzilla would emerge from the sea, or stomp all over a city, she would cover her ears and turn her head into her father’s armpit. And she shuddered when Godzilla roared. Literally shuddered. I’ll tell you, it was one of the most epic theater-going experiences I’ve ever had in my entire life, and it totally blew my mind.

As I said up top, I’ve been listening to Godzilla roar for practically my entire life. I’ve seen him on the little screen, and I’ve see versions of him on the big screen, and the sound has never rattled my bones, or sent shivers up my spine like it did for Minus One, which truly took the sound to another level.

So, again, no disrespect to any of the other movies that were nominated in this category (I’ve seen four of them), but none of the other nominees had the kind of thunderous sound that surpassed, or even matched, Godzilla Minus One. So, why again was it left off that list? What gives?

Post WWII-Japan in ruins in the Godzilla Minus One trailer
Post WWII-Japan in ruins in the Godzilla Minus One trailer

Yes, It’s Up For Best Visual Effects, But That’s It?

Yes, I know that the visual department behind Minus One is ecstatic to be up for Best Visual effects, and they should be. In a lot of ways, the movie is a rebuke to the American film establishment, as they had a pretty minuscule budget (A fraction of what our movies cost to make!), and they still made a film that rivals any big budget Hollywood movie out there.

So, yes, the visual effects team deserves the nomination (and by God, they better WIN). But, I’m just looking up and down this list of nominations, and all I can think is, that’s it? No Best Original Screenplay? No Best Production Design?

I mean, maybe I’m reaching, but I’d put Minami Hamabe up for Best Actress any day of the week for her subtle, and yet heartfelt performance. But, nope. Only Best Visual Effects. It’s well-deserved, sure, but the film deserves so much more!

Godzilla looking back with a face of anger in Godzilla Minus One.
Godzilla looking back with a face of anger in Godzilla Minus One.

Comic Book Movies Can Get Best Picture Nods, So Why Not Kaiju Films?

Last but not least, I’m particularly irked because I KNOW why Godzilla Minus One didn’t get nominated for Best Picture. It’s because it’s a Kaiju film, and at this point, Kaiju films aren’t seen as worthy to be Best Picture nominees. That must be the case, because again, it’s one of the highest rated films of last year, and it was both critically and commercially successful.

What bugs me is that we are not likely to get another opportunity for this to ever happen again, since Kaiju films are so few and far between in America. I mean, the Academy only just recently started nominating comic book movies like Joker, and Black Panther. So, I didn’t really expect the Academy to be with it enough to recognize that a Kaiju movie can actually be as good (Or even better!) than a movie like Oppenheimer.

Which really sucks! Maybe if we had like, ten years of GOOD Kaiju movies like comic book films had, then maybe we’d get an opportunity for the Academy to recognize that a great film can come from ANY genre – even Kaiju pictures! But no, we are likely never going to get a string of amazing Kaiju pictures on the same level as Godzilla Minus One. This was probably our one and only chance, and the Academy blew it!

But, that’s just my little rant. I’m glad that I was finally able to get it off my chest, even though it still bugs me. For more news on all things Academy Awards (which I WON’T be watching) - related, be sure to swing by here often.