- Star Trek movies have a strong track record in the technical categories at the Oscars, with multiple nominations and one win.
- The Original Series movies received nominations for art direction, original score, visual effects, cinematography, sound, and sound effects editing.
- The Next Generation movies only received one nomination for Best Makeup, losing to The Nutty Professor.
Only one Star Trek movie has ever won an Oscar, but six more of the thirteen films have also been nominated for Academy Awards. From Patrick Stewart’s lack of awards recognition for playing Captain Jean-Luc Picard in Star Trek: The Next Generation to Star Trek: Picard season 3’s Emmy snub, the franchise hasn’t had a good track record with acting awards. Generally, Star Trek shows or movies are never in contention for Best TV Drama or Best Picture at the Emmys or Oscars, but they do feature heavily in the technical categories. That’s hardly surprising for a franchise that relies heavily on visual effects, art direction and makeup to create believable strange new worlds.
The Star Trek movies from William Shatner to Chris Pine have received multiple nominations in the Academy Awards’ technical categories. However, only one of the 13 Star Trek movies has been the lucky recipient of an Oscar statue since the franchise’s first trip to the Academy Awards in 1980. However, the very fact that more than half the movies in the Star Trek franchise have received one or more Oscar nominations demonstrates how well-regarded they are by their peers in the wider movie industry.
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Three Star Trek: TOS Movies Were Nominated For Academy Awards
Three of the Star Trek: The Original Series movies were nominated for multiple Academy Awards in 1980, 1987, and 1992, respectively. Star Trek: The Motion Picture, arguably the most cinematic of the six TOS movies, was nominated for art direction, Jerry Goldsmith’s original score, and Douglas Trumbull’s visual effects. Goldsmith and Trumbull are big names in their fields, which would have helped Star Trek: TMP to gain nominations for three of the biggest technical Oscars. Unfortunately for Star Trek: The Motion Picture, it was released in the same year as Ridley Scott’s groundbreaking Alien, which took home the Visual Effects Oscar in 1980.
Nominated for four Academy Awards, Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home received the most Oscar nominations of all the Star Trek: The Original Series movies. The fourth Star Trek movie was nominated for cinematography, original score, sound, and sound effects editing. Voyage Home‘s list of Academy Award nominations is perhaps reflective of it being the most popular and highest-grossing Star Trek movie for the TOS cast. Once again, the Alien franchise beat Star Trek to an Academy Award, with James Cameron’s Aliens winning the Sound Effects Editing Oscar in 1987.
Jerry Goldsmith had won an Oscar for Best Original Score in 1977 for his work on The Omen.
Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country was nominated for two Academy Awards in 1992, for both makeup and sound effects editing. The Oscar nomination for Star Trek 6 is well-earned as it features some incredible alien makeup. It’s not just the visiting Klingon dignitaries, there are also some hugely imaginative alien creations seen when Captain James T. Kirk (William Shatner) and Dr. Leonard McCoy (DeForest Kelley) are sent to the Rura Penthe penal colony. Unfortunately for Star Trek, James Cameron’s Terminator 2: Judgment Day swept the board when it came to 1992’s technical Oscars.
One TNG Movie Got An Oscar Nomination
Only one of the four Star Trek: The Next Generation movies was nominated for an Oscar. Star Trek: First Contact was nominated for a Best Makeup Oscar at the 69th Academy Awards in 1997. The makeup work on Jonathan Frakes’ Star Trek: First Contact is excellent, from the Borg drones to the human skin on Lt. Commander Data (Brent Spiner) and the terrifying Borg Queen (Alice Krige). Where the Star Trek: The Original Series movies lost to more technically impressive sci-fi movies, First Contact lost out on a makeup Oscar to Eddie Murphy’s The Nutty Professor in 1997.
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Only J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek (2009) Has Won An Academy Award
J.J. Abrams’ 2009 reboot is the only Academy Award-winning Star Trek movie. J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek movie was nominated for four Academy Awards at the 2010 Oscars ceremony; Best Achievement in Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, Makeup and Visual Effects. Once again, James Cameron was a thorn in Star Trek‘s side, as his groundbreaking 2009 movie Avatar walked away with the Best Achievement in Visual Effects Oscar. Avatar‘s predominantly computer generated characters meant that it wasn’t nominated for Best Achievement in Makeup, allowing J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek to take the franchise’s one and only Oscar.
J.J. Abrams’ controversial Star Trek into Darkness remake was nominated for Best Achievement in Visual Effects at the 2013 Academy Awards. However, it lost out on that award to Ang Lee’s visually stunning The Life of Pi, which had been released in the same year. Justin Lin’s Star Trek Beyond also got a nod for Best Makeup and Hairstyling at the 89th Academy Awards in 2017. However, it lost out to David Ayer’s DC movie, Suicide Squad, presumably due to the extensive work required in creating Jared Leto’s Joker tattoos. With two new Star Trek movies reportedly in the works, it remains to be seen if the franchise will win another Oscar in the coming years.
The six Star Trek: The Original Series movies and four Star Trek: The Next Generation movies are streaming now on Max.
All three Chris Pine Star Trek movies are streaming now on Paramount+.