Will Moonrise Kingdom Get a Best Picture Nod?

Slate's Culture Blog
Nov. 27 2012 2:29 PM

Can Moonrise Kingdom Get a Best Picture Nod?

Wes Anderson's Moonrise Kingdom.
Moonrise Kingdom.

Photo courtesy Focus Features.

Wes Anderson may be a critics' darling, but he's never been an Academy darling. His seven feature films have a grand total of two Oscar nominations: best original screenplay for The Royal Tenenbaums (it lost to Gosford Park) and best animated feature for Fantastic Mr. Fox (it lost to Up).

Will Moonrise Kingdom fare better—and maybe even earn Anderson his first best picture nod? There was a time when that looked likely. After great reviews and record-breaking per-screen box office in its opening weekend (when it played at just a handful of theaters), the movie appeared destined to surpass The Royal Tenenbaums as Anderson's biggest commercial success and thus, perhaps, grab the attention of Academy voters.


But as the movie expanded into wider release it did not perform quite as well as expected. Its final box office tally fell far short of what Tenenbaums did, and as the fall has progressed, it has become something of an afterthought in all the burbling Oscar chatter.

Last night, though, the movie won best feature at the Gotham Awards, which has been described as "the first serious event" of awards season. The last few winners in that category? Tree of Life, Winter's Bone, and The Hurt Locker, all of which got best picture nominations at the Oscars. And today, Moonrise Kingdom received five nominations from the Independent Spirit Awards, another supposed Oscar precursor. The five nods tied it with Silver Linings Playbook, which will almost certainly be a best picture nominee—and put it one up on Beasts of the Southern Wild, quite possibly a competitor for one of the last best picture slots. (Like Moonrise Kingdom, Beasts is a dreamlike movie centered on a child protagonist. While it's entirely feasible that neither film will get nominated, nods for both would be a big surprise.)

So for the moment, at least, Anderson's Oscar chances look better than ever. If you're happy about this, we know at least one way you can celebrate.

David Haglund is a senior editor at Slate. He runs Brow Beat, Slate's culture blog.



Slate Plus Early Read: The Self-Made Man

The story of America’s most pliable, pernicious, irrepressible myth.

Rehtaeh Parsons Was the Most Famous Victim in Canada. Now, Journalists Can’t Even Say Her Name.

Mitt Romney May Be Weighing a 2016 Run. That Would Be a Big Mistake.

Amazing Photos From Hong Kong’s Umbrella Revolution

Transparent Is the Fall’s Only Great New Show

The XX Factor

Rehtaeh Parsons Was the Most Famous Victim in Canada

Now, journalists can't even say her name.


Lena Dunham, the Book

More shtick than honesty in Not That Kind of Girl.

What a Juicy New Book About Diane Sawyer and Katie Couric Fails to Tell Us About the TV News Business

Does Your Child Have Sluggish Cognitive Tempo? Or Is That Just a Disorder Made Up to Scare You?

  News & Politics
Damned Spot
Sept. 30 2014 9:00 AM Now Stare. Don’t Stop. The perfect political wife’s loving gaze in campaign ads.
Sept. 29 2014 7:01 PM We May Never Know If Larry Ellison Flew a Fighter Jet Under the Golden Gate Bridge
Sept. 30 2014 9:32 AM Why Are Mint Condition Comic Books So Expensive?
  Double X
Sept. 29 2014 11:43 PM Lena Dunham, the Book More shtick than honesty in Not That Kind of Girl.
  Slate Plus
Slate Fare
Sept. 29 2014 8:45 AM Slate Isn’t Too Liberal. But… What readers said about the magazine’s bias and balance.
Brow Beat
Sept. 29 2014 9:06 PM Paul Thomas Anderson’s Inherent Vice Looks Like a Comic Masterpiece
Future Tense
Sept. 30 2014 7:36 AM Almost Humane What sci-fi can teach us about our treatment of prisoners of war.
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 30 2014 7:30 AM What Lurks Beneath The Methane Lakes of Titan?
Sports Nut
Sept. 28 2014 8:30 PM NFL Players Die Young. Or Maybe They Live Long Lives. Why it’s so hard to pin down the effects of football on players’ lives.