A Postscript For Star Trek
Although J.J. Abrams has received critical acclaim for his interpretation of Gene Roddenberry‘s vision, it remains to be seen if the members of the American Academy of Motion Picture Arts And Sciences can overcome their prejudice of science fiction and nominate the film in the “Best Picture” category for 2009.
Traditionally, Science Fiction has not been given the credit it deserves, often overlooked by the Oscar’s except for special effects. Star Wars (1977) remains the exception, although the attention this year will be on the maiden voyage of the USS Enterprise NCC 1701 to challenge the notion that the genre is too unrealistic to compete or win multiple awards for screenplay, directing, set decorations, score, editing and acting.
This form of fiction has provided a perfect format for presenting contemporary issues often by slipping under the radar of the censors, unveiling the relevancy of the subject matter by being just one step beyond reality yet distant enough to be non-threatening.
Classic Star Trek, first conceived in 1965, had numerous story lines based on the important subjects of its time, including race relations, arms proliferation, over population, and many others in imaginative and colorful ways. No other series could have presented these issues at that time without having some kind of severe public backlash, yet of all of the thirty Emmy’s the franchise has been awarded, not one was in writing, directing or acting.
The conflicts raised by science fiction also relate to expectations of how society might evolve based on assumptions created by advancements in technology and medicine, suggesting conceivable possibilities although sometimes far fetched. This form of story telling challenges the imagination sometimes requiring a leap of faith beyond the logic of the story’s credibility, focusing attention on character development, using special effects and futuristic gadgets to further the story rather than dazzle the audience.
In the past, the demographics of the voting academy members of the Oscars and Emmy’s were different and much older, dismissing science fiction, fantasy and horror as not worthy of competing with other genres. However, in 2003, The Lord Of The Rings-The Return Of The King earned eleven Oscars, the first fantasy film to win best picture, suggesting that the academy, now comprising a majority of baby boomers who grew up with the original Trek, may be ready to give science fiction the spotlight.