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It's going to be quite a lot of Hugo posts in the next few days as I clear my backlog of books read but yet unblogged. I must say that this has brought home to me how much the system demands of conscientious voters - now there are 17 Hugo categories, two associated awards (Campbell and YA), 9 Retro Hugo categories this year (and likely at least as many next year), and all of them with six finalists.

Anyway. For once, I managed to watch all of the Long Form finalists for this year. (Their combined length is 13 hours and 34 minutes; I previously watched/listened to all of the then five finalists all the way through in 2009, 2011 and 2012.) I had seen three in the cinema, before nominations even opened, and was able to get the other three onto the iPad and take advantage of some long business trips to get through them. I found it pretty straightforward to rank the six.

7) Thor: Ragnarok



This is the fourth Marvel Universe film I have seen, but only the third in chronological order - the others were the first Iron Man, which didn't impress me much, and nor did Captain America: The First Avenger, which I also ranked below No Award. On the other hand there is also Black Panther, made after Thor: Ragnarok but which I saw earlier this year, and loved. I'm afraid Thor: Ragnarok is back to the usual form for me. Not being terribly invested in the characters of the Marvel Universe, let alone the Thor storyline, I could see that the whole thing was trying to be funny but it wasn’t really my fandom. At least Jeff Goldblum was treating it with the approriate level of seriousness. I am sure it will do better than seventh place in the overall vote.

6) Blade Runner 2049



This was a bit of a disappointment. It went on way too long, it was very dependent on the predecessor of many years ago, some great action scenes and some beautiful cinematography, but took a long time to get to the point as far as it ever did. Also noticeable that the Asian population of Los Angeles seems to have almost completely disappeared. (And we do miss Vangelis' music.)

5) No Award; I can't really be thrilled at either of the above winning.

4) Get Out



Now we reach the stage where it is really painful to have to choose between the remaining films. I thought Get Out was brilliant - taking an old sf trope, injecting it with the dynamic of the current debate about race, and Josh Lyman from The West Wing as a genial but completely mad scientist. Daniel Kaluuya is particularly good as the protagonist. Maybe a bit too close to the horror side of the genre for my personal taste.

3) Star Wars: The Last Jedi



I seem to be using the phrase “not my fandom” far too much these days. Star Wars very much is one of my fandoms, and I loved this a lot - despite the slight hole in the plot of taking a break to go gambling during a space battle (having said that, I thought both settings were gorgeously realised, I just wasn't convinced of how they fit together). But I liked everything else, including the porgs but especially Carrie Fisher's last hurrah, and also Laura Dern and Kelly Marie Tran.

2) Wonder Woman




I wrote about this when I saw it, and really loved it. Extra points for being partially set in Belgium (see also: Twice Upon a Time).

1) The Shape of Water



The relationship between the Hugos and the Oscars is not at all direct. A quick scan of the nominees and finalists delivers the following data (year of Hugo is given, which is the year after the film was released and also the year after the Oscar year):

Hugo winners which were also Oscar nominees: Other Hugo finalists which were also Oscar nominees
Doctor Strangelove (1965)
A Clockwork Orange (1972)
Star Wars (1978)
Raiders of the Lost Ark (1982)
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2001)
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2002)
The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2003)
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2004, won 2003 Oscar too)
Inception (2011)
Gravity (2014)
The Martian (2016)
Arrival (2017)
E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1983)
The Right Stuff (1984)
Field of Dreams (1990)
Ghost (1991)
Beauty and the Beast (1992)
Apollo 13 (1996)
The Sixth Sense (2000)
Avatar (2010)
District 9 (2010)
Up (2010)
Toy Story 3 (2011)
Hugo (2012)
Mad Max: Fury Road (2016)
Hidden Figures (2017)

So far precisely one film has won both awards - The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. No other Hugo finalist has ever won the Oscar. It's also noticeable that half of the overlap is from this century, with the expanded Oscar ballots of the last ten years clearly helping. Basically this century, genre films have become fully accepted as part of the mainstream.

This year, for only the second time in the history of both awards, the winner of the Oscar for Best Picture is also up for the Hugo. I must say I thought it was brilliant. I really liked the detailed paranoid portrayal of the world of 1962, the navigation of race, gender and disability, and the core question of what makes us human at the end of the day. It looks and sounds fantastic. It gets my firm first preference and I think it must have a good chance of winning the award.

2018 Hugos: Novel | Novella | Novelette | Short Story | Related Work | Graphic Story | Dramatic Long | Dramatic Short | Professional Artist & Fan Artist | Young Adult
1943 Retro Hugos: Novel | Novella | Novelette | Short Story | Dramatic Short | Fan Artist

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