Godzilla Minus One: A Historic Oscar Nomination for the King of Monsters


Godzilla, the iconic giant reptile that has terrorized and fascinated audiences for decades, has finally received his first Oscar nomination for Best Visual Effects. The nomination is for the Japanese film Godzilla Minus One, which retells the origin story of Godzilla in the aftermath of World War 2. The film has been praised for its stunning visual effects, emotional storytelling, and respectful homage to the original 1954 film.


How has Godzilla Minus One revived the franchise?

Godzilla Minus One is the 38th film in the Godzilla franchise, which began in 1954 with the original Godzilla directed by Ishiro Honda. The film was a metaphor for the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and depicted Godzilla as a tragic and destructive force of nature. The film spawned numerous sequels, spin-offs, and remakes, featuring Godzilla fighting against other monsters, aliens, and humans.

However, in recent years, the franchise has lost some of its popularity and relevance, especially in the international market. The American adaptations of Godzilla, such as the 1998 film by Roland Emmerich and the 2014 film by Gareth Edwards, were criticized for being too Hollywoodized and lacking the spirit and depth of the original. The Japanese films, such as the 2016 Shin Godzilla and the 2017-2018 Godzilla anime trilogy, were also met with mixed reactions from fans and critics.

Godzilla Minus One, directed by Takashi Yamazaki, aimed to revitalize the franchise by going back to its roots and exploring the origins of Godzilla in a realistic and historical context. The film is set in Japan in 1945, when the country was devastated by the atomic bombings and the surrender of the Allied forces. A group of scientists, soldiers, and civilians discover a mysterious creature in the ruins of Tokyo and name it Godzilla. They soon realize that Godzilla is a mutated dinosaur that was awakened by nuclear radiation and that he is growing rapidly and becoming more aggressive. They must find a way to stop him before he destroys everything in his path.

The film was praised for its visual effects, which combined computer-generated imagery and motion capture to create a realistic and expressive Godzilla. The film also featured practical effects, such as miniatures, pyrotechnics, and animatronics, to pay tribute to the original film’s techniques. The film’s visual effects team was led by Shirogumi, a Japanese company that has worked on films such as Always: Sunset on Third Street, Stand by Me Doraemon, and Lupin the Third: The First.

The film was also praised for its emotional storytelling, which focused on the human characters and their struggles in the post-war era. The film explored themes such as trauma, guilt, nationalism, and redemption and showed how Godzilla was both a victim and a symbol of the horrors of war. The film also featured references and homages to the original film, such as the use of the classic Godzilla roar, the appearance of the Oxygen Destroyer, and the inclusion of Akira Ifukube’s iconic music score.

How did Godzilla Minus One conquer the box office?

Godzilla Minus One was released in Japan on August 6, 2023, the 78th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. The film was a huge success, earning over 10 billion yen ($90 million) at the Japanese box office, making it the highest-grossing Godzilla film in Japan and the second-highest-grossing film of 2023 in Japan, behind Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba and the movie Mugen Train.

The film also received a limited release in the United States on November 3, 2023, coinciding with the 69th anniversary of the original Godzilla’s release in Japan. The film was distributed by Funimation Films, a subsidiary of Sony Pictures Entertainment, and was screened in select theaters with English subtitles. The film received positive reviews from American critics, who praised its visual effects, storytelling, and respect for the source material. The film also attracted a large fan base, which appreciated its faithful and fresh take on the Godzilla mythos.

The film grossed over $20 million at the U.S. box office, making it the fifth-highest-grossing foreign language film in U.S. history, behind Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Life Is Beautiful, Hero, and Parasite. The film also performed well in other international markets, such as China, South Korea, France, and Germany, bringing its worldwide total to over $100 million. The film was also nominated for several awards, such as the Japan Academy Prize, the Mainichi Film Award, and the Annie Award.

How did Godzilla Minus One make history at the Oscars?

On January 24, 2024, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced the nominees for the 96th Academy Awards, which will be held on March 10, 2024. Godzilla Minus One was nominated for Best Visual Effects, along with The Creator, Mission Impossible: Dead Reckoning, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, and Society of the Snow. This marks the first time that a Godzilla film has ever been nominated for an Oscar and the second time that a Japanese film has been nominated for Best Visual Effects, after Akira in 1989.

The nomination was celebrated by the filmmakers, the fans, and the media, who recognized it as a historic achievement for the Godzilla franchise and the Japanese film industry. The director, Takashi Yamazaki, expressed his gratitude and excitement on Twitter, saying, “I am honored and humbled by this nomination. I want to thank the Academy, the fans, and everyone who supported Godzilla Minus One. This is a dream come true for me and Godzilla.” The visual effects supervisor, Shirogumi, also thanked the academy and praised the work of his team, saying, “This is a great honor for us and Godzilla. We worked hard to create a realistic and expressive Godzilla that would honor the legacy of the original film. We are proud of our work and happy to share it with the world.”

The fans also congratulated Godzilla and the filmmakers on social media, using hashtags such as #GodzillaOscar, #GodzillaMinusOne, and #KingOfMonsters. Some fans also created memes, artworks, and videos to celebrate the occasion, such as a parody of the famous scene from Titanic, where Godzilla and the Oxygen Destroyer are holding hands on the bow of the ship, with the caption: “I’m flying, Jack!” Some fans also expressed their hope that Godzilla would win the Oscar, or at least attend the ceremony and make a speech.

The media also covered the nomination extensively, calling it a historic moment for the Godzilla franchise and the Japanese film industry. Some articles also analyzed the reasons behind the nomination, such as the film’s visual effects, storytelling, and homage to the original film. Some articles also compared the film to other Oscar-nominated films, such as Parasite, which won four Oscars in 2020, including Best Picture, and became the first foreign language film to do so.

The nomination also sparked some debates and controversies, such as whether Godzilla deserved the nomination, whether the film was better than the American adaptations, and whether the film was a political statement or a cultural phenomenon. Some critics also argued that the film was overlooked for other categories, such as Best Foreign Language Film, Best Director, or Best Original Score.

Regardless of the outcome, the nomination of Godzilla Minus One for Best Visual Effects is a historic achievement for the Godzilla franchise and the Japanese film industry and a testament to the enduring popularity and relevance of the King of Monsters.

By Kane Wilson

Kane Wilson, founder of this news website, is a seasoned news editor renowned for his analytical skills and meticulous approach to storytelling. His journey in journalism began as a local reporter, and he quickly climbed the ranks due to his talent for unearthing compelling stories. Kane completed his Master’s degree in Media Studies from Northwestern University and spent several years in broadcast journalism prior to co-founding this platform. His dedication to delivering unbiased news and ability to present complex issues in an easily digestible format make him an influential voice in the industry.

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