Oscar: Indiana Jones Franchise–Nominations and Awards

What are the prospects of the new Indy picture, “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of Skull,” at the Oscars?

Jointly, the first three pictures received 13 nominations, winning 7 awards, mostly in the technical categories. Of the three films, only the first, “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” was nominated for the Best Picture Oscars.

Raiders of the Lost Ark

Producer George Lucas (“Star Wars” movies) and director Steven Spielberg (“Jaws”) collaborated for the first time in making “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” a spectacular adventure, serving as tribute to the old serials they liked to watch as children on Saturday mornings. Polished production values and a vastly entertaining saga were responsible for the picture’s box-office bonanza (grossing more than $200 million domestically), and leading to two more chapters in the 1980s: “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom” and “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.”

Based on a story by Lucas and Philip Kaufman’s, Lawrence Kasdan’s scenario tells the story of an archeologist, Dr. Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford, just before “Blade Runner”), a distinguished scholar who removes his glasses in the name of a more promising and exciting away from the stifling classroom.

Oscar Nominations: 8

Picture, produced by Frank Marshall Director: Steven Spielberg Cinematography: Douglas Slocombe Art Direction-Set Decoration: Norman Reynolds and Leslie Dilley Film Editing: Michael Kahn Sound: Bill Varney, Steve Maslow, Gregg Landaker, and Roy Charman Original Score: John Williams Visual Effects: Richard Edlund, Kit West, Bruce Nicholson, and Joe Johnston

Oscar Awards: 5

Art Direction-Set Decoration Film Editing Sound Visual Effects Special Achievement Award for Sound Effects Editing: Benjamin P. Burtt Jr. and Richard L. Anderson

Oscar Context

In 1981, the British sports melodrama “Chariots of Fire,” was the surprise winner of the Best Picture Oscar, with 7 nominations and four awards, including Original Score to Vangelis. Spielberg’s “Raiders of the Lost Ark” won most of the technical Oscars. The other nominees were Louis Malle’s “Atlantic City,” The schmaltzy family saga “On Golden Pod,” and Warren Beatty’s semi-successful epic “Reds,” which received the largest (12) number of nominations.

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom

It was only a matter of time before producer George Lucas and director Spielberg would make the sequel to their 1981 smash hit, Raiders of the Lost Ark, which was nominated for the Best Picture Oscar. It took three years for the second chapter, for which the high expectations were largely met, though some critics were disappointed with the end result of the $25 million sequel. Most reviewers singled out the fast, breakneck pacing of the action-adventure, which begins with a spectacular scene, a dance number performed in a Busby Berkeley style to Cole Porters famous tune, Anything Goes, in a suave nightclub.

Oscar Nominations: 2

Visual Effects: Dennis Muren, Michael McAlister, Lorne Peterson, George Gibbs Original score: John Williams

Oscar Awards: 1

Visual Effects

Oscar Context

The winner of the Original Score Oscar was Maurice Jarre for David Leans epic, A Passage to India, which also was nominated for Best Picture.

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

Produced by George Lucas and director Spielberg, the third chapter of the Indiana Jones series, which began with the 1981 smash hit, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and continued with the 1984 Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom,” is the weakest of the trilogy, which might explain why it became the last installment-until the new episode, 19 years later.

Credited screenwriter Jeffrey Boam, with major help from Lucas, Kaufman and others, has turned the adventure into a multi-generational saga, adding Freudian tension between Indy and his father archeologist (Sean Connery, just after winning a Supporting Oscar for The Untouchables) and with a subplot that involves Indy as a young boy (played by the gifted River Phoenix).

Oscar Nominations: 3

Original Score: John Williams Sound: Ben Burtt, Gary Summers, Shawn Murphy, Tony Dawe Sound Effects Editing: Ben Burtt, Richard Hymns

Oscar Awards: 1

Sound Effects Editing

Oscar Context

The winner of the Original Score Oscar was Maurice Jarre for David Leans epic, A Passage to India, which also was nominated for Best Picture.