Riz Ahmed and Felicity Jones were the Best Visual Effects at the Oscars

Riz Ahmed and Felicity Jones were the Best Visual Effects at the Oscars

Rogue One goes home empty-handed at the Oscars, Mark Hamill's 2018 Oscar campaign is already gathering momentum and Making Of books are back in today's Force Report. 

Rogue Lost

Not that anyone’s actually talking about the results of this wild Oscars ceremony, but Rogue One: A Star Wars Story lost the two awards it was nominated for (Best Visual Effects and Best Sound Mixing).

Rogue One stars Felicity Jones and Riz Ahmed were on hand to present the VFX Oscar, but their film lost to The Jungle Book, while Hacksaw Ridge picked up the Sound Mixing gong.  

Even the most devout fan of Rogue One would be hard-pressed to argue that the film was robbed in either category — The Jungle Book is a stunning achievement that has had the VFX Oscar in the bag ever since that ‘Filmed in downtown Los Angeles’ mic drop, and Hacksaw Ridge sound mixer Kevin O’Connell had been nominated 21 times without a win, so he was due.

Princess Amidala herself, Natalie Portman, seemed the safest bet for someone with a Star Wars connection to win this year, but her stellar performance in Jackie was bested by Emma Stone’s turn in La La Land.

Our Princess Carrie Fisher and her mother, Debbie Reynolds, closed out the annual In Memoriam montage – quite the honour, when you consider how many Hollywood greats passed away in the last 12 months. Naturally, the great Kenny Baker featured, too.

So, plenty of love for the galaxy far, far away at the Oscars, even if Rogue One didn’t pick up any awards.

Then again, maybe it won Best Picture. Who really knows for sure?

There is another

Of course, some people in the Star Wars community are already looking ahead to the franchise’s next chance to secure an Oscar.

JJ Abrams (remember that guy?) has high praise for Mark Hamill’s performance in The Last Jedi, predicting that the veteran actor will be in the mix for accolades during the next awards season.

“I think we are all going to be very upset if he does not win an Oscar, and no one more upset than Mark,” Abrams joked at the Oscar Wilde Awards in LA.

“He is hysterically funny,” Abrams said of Hamill. “He has done comedy. He is an amazing guy — he can do anything.”

It wouldn’t be unprecedented for Hamill to be nominated for playing a grizzled Jedi Knight — Sir Alec Guinness was nominated for his performance as Obi-Wan Kenobi in the original film. (Personally, I think Harrison Ford deserved a Supporting Actor nomination for his turn in the mentor role in The Force Awakens, too, but that’s just me.)

I love Abrams’ quote for a couple of reasons. 1) For Hamill to be in contention for an Oscar for The Last Jedi, Luke Skywalker will have to speak; and 2) Anything that indicates Abrams is still actively involved with this franchise is good news in my book.

As much as I trust Rian Johnson and Colin Trevorrow, my hope is that Abrams continues to be a steady hand at the helm.

Thank the maker

Here’s something curious, via Jedi News — Abrams Books has given Making Rogue One: A Star Wars Story an October 3 release date, and provided details about the book’s content.  

I absolutely adore JW Rinzler’s The Making of Star Wars (and its sequels, The Making of Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back and The Making of Star Wars: Return of the Jedi).

His detailed, compulsively readable tomes are essential reading for fans of Star Wars and film in general, and I was genuinely saddened when his most recent effort, The Making of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, dropped off the release schedule after Rinzler left Lucasfilm.

There’s still no sign of the Force Awakens book, but lo and behold, here’s a Making Of book for Rogue One — a potentially fascinating read, to say the least. Unfortunately, Rinzler won’t be writing this one. It’s in the hands of former Lucasfilm and DC Comics publicist Josh Kushins.

The synopsis (and the fact that the film just came out) makes me think this won’t take the same unvarnished, warts-and-all approach as Rinzler's Original Trilogy books. It'll probably be closer in tone to your standard Making Of book, much like Rinzler's The Making of Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, which was still pretty good.

Rogue One marks not just the beginning of a new Star Wars story, but an entirely new approach to Star Wars storytelling—breaking away from the Skywalker saga and exploring new heroes, new tales, and new corners of the iconic “galaxy far, far away.” Featuring personal recollections and anecdotes from designers, creators, cast, and crew at all stages of production—as well as concept art and behind-the-scenes photos—this book offers an immersive look at Rogue One’s journey to the screen. From the early decision to spin stand-alone stories and the hiring of visionary director Gareth Edwards, to the triumphs and challenges of principal photography and the exciting innovations of Industrial Light & Magic’s post-production, Making Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is the comprehen­sive oral history of this new film’s production.  

The 256 page hardcover will retail for US$29.99 when it’s released on October 3.

The State of the Galaxy Address

The State of the Galaxy Address

OK, so the original Star Wars trilogy probably isn't coming back

OK, so the original Star Wars trilogy probably isn't coming back