Godzilla Finally Gets His Due with First Oscar Nomination in 70 Years Godzilla Stomps into Oscars Race After 7 Decades of Snubs, but King Kong Still Reigns Supreme
After 70 years in show business, Godzilla is finally getting his due.
The nomination is Godzilla‘s first after a lengthy, decades-spanning career. Godzilla, who became a star once nuclear tests mutated him into a skyscraper-size monster who could destroy buildings and tanks with his atomic breath, made his film debut in 1954’s Godzilla.
Since then, he’s appeared in a total of 37 feature films — 33 of which, including Minus One, were made by the Japanese studio Toho, while the other four are American productions. A 38th film, Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire, will open in the U.S. in March 2024.
‘Godzilla Minus One’ Scores Monster’s First Oscars Nomination
Godzilla Minus One, which features Godzilla attacking a defeated, demilitarized Japan in the immediate wake of World War II, had a fraction of the budget of most American blockbusters, including U.S. Godzilla films like 2021’s Godzilla vs Kong, which had a budget of $155 million and received zero noms.
Reports of Minus One‘s exact budget vary, but it’s somewhere between $10 and $15 million — 10 percent of GvK‘s.
In an interview with Vulture, the film’s director and writer, Takashi Yamazaki, who also oversaw Minus One‘s special effects, noted this stark difference. “Man, you guys have a lot of VFX and you guys have the budget for it,” he said when comparing the American Godzilla films to the Japanese ones.
Minus One has enjoyed surprising critical and commercial success in the United States, grossing more than $100 million, and becoming the fifth-highest-grossing foreign language film in U.S. box-office history.
Godzilla vs. King Kong: The Battle for Oscars Glory
Despite Godzilla’s breakthrough nomination, King Kong still reigns supreme in terms of Oscar recognition.
While the original 1933 King Kong did not receive any nominations, director John Guillermin’s 1976 remake was recognized by nods in the categories of Best Cinematography and Best Sound.
The film also received a controversial Special Achievement Academy Award for Best Visual Effects, the controversy being that makeup artist legend-in-the-making Rick Baker, who actually played Kong in much of the film, was not among the list of recipients.
Nearly 30 years later Peter Jackson’s Jack Black-starring version of the Kong saga performed even better, scoring four nominations, and winning for Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, and Visual Effects.
Meanwhile, Kong’s Japanese rival first appeared in 1954’s Godzilla and starred in a slew of films over the next few decades, including a big budget 1998 film of the same name, but remained unrewarded by the Academy.
The Academy’s Preference for King Kong Over Godzilla
Neither 2014’s Godzilla nor 2019’s Godzilla: King of the Monsters received nominations but 2017’s Kong: Skull Island did get a Best Visual Effects nod.
Whether this perceived bias against Godzilla fueled the two giants’ agita in 2021’s Adam Wingard-directed Godzilla vs. Kong is a matter of speculation. What is known is that the pair will next be seen in the same director’s upcoming Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire (out March 29).
Godzilla Minus One is still screening in select cinemas. A black-and-white version of the film, Godzilla Minus One/Minus Color, is released Jan. 26.
The 96th Academy Awards will air on Sunday, March 10, at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT on ABC. See the full list of 2024 Oscar Nominations.