Fans of sci-fi have always wondered why the genre receives so little love and appreciation from the Oscar awards every year. Except for Steven Spielberg’s E.T that got the Oscar nod decades ago, we barely see any sci-fi films getting nominations despite creating award-worthy feature films. “arrival” has earned eight nominations this year, but if you ask most speculators, they will tell you that the odds of “Arrival” winning ‘Best Picture’ are astronomically slim.

Changing the trend

Instead of considering if previous sci-fi films deserved to win ‘Best Picture’, let’s examine if “Arrival” deserves the win this year, purely on the basis on its quality and not the genre it explores.

Arrival” tells the story of linguistics expert Louise Banks (played by Amy Adams), whose life changes quite dramatically when she is brought in by the U.S government to help communicate with an alien race that has landed at various points across the planet. The Film explores the essence of language and communication - preexisting structures we take for granted every day, and highlights its vast complexity within the context of alien communication.

As the story unfolds, we realize that there are elements of time-travel involved, a form of technology that the alien race intend on gifting to the human species. The film uses time-travel as a beautiful tool to help us examine the nature of our choices, and the extent of control we would exercise over our own destiny if given a say.

The film works on almost every level, primarily flipping some preconceived notions in the sci-fi genre on its head, while also acting as a suspenseful feature that reveals its immersive plot in a brilliantly designed non-linear pattern. The acting, direction, background score, editing and cinematography are all of the highest order, ensuring that a poignant script receives the excellent execution it deserves.

The verdict

Now the question remains: Is “Arrival” the best picture of the year? Well that is a truly subjective question, but it is still a question we answer every year with great aplomb. A recent study highlighted a glaring trend between films that usually tend to win the sought-after award every year.

Turns out films about contemporary American culture featuring a predominantly non-ethnic cast stands the best chance (over 60%) of winning an Oscar award.

This film is definitely not about contemporary American culture, but it is one of those rare gems that is unified by themes that can reach out to each of us on Earth. Maybe that’s the reason it should win the award this year, and maybe that’s the reason it probably won’t win either.