The Contenders 2011

The guardians of Harry Potter’s onscreen legacy have exhibited a remarkable consistency through the eight pics in the series. The finale, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2,” not only earned critical kudos (96% on Rotten Tomatoes) but also, like the rest of the series, a boatload of cash ($1.3 billion worldwide).

Such successes aside, the franchise has been historically poor on awards, with nine Oscar nominations but never a win — for anything, despite employing the cream of British acting talent (Michael Gambon, Maggie Smith, Robbie Coltrane, Alan Rickman and, of course, Ralph Fiennes as He Who Must Not Be Named). Scribe Steve Kloves, who adapted the entire series, has been graced with one nomination (“Wonder Boys”) despite the monumental achievement of pleasing fans and series creator J.K. Rowling.

But there’s hope if Warner Bros. wants to grab Oscar glory: “The Return of the King,” the last installment of the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy, took home 11 Oscars, including picture and director. For the same to happen with “Potter,” Academy voters must get beyond the perception that the series is kid’s stuff. The franchise has also had several directors, although David Yates has helmed the last four films, somewhat leveling any criticism of lack of auteurship of the material. Still, “Potter”-philes hope the themes of the final film, the maturation of the teen characters, the linchpin perf of Rickman and the satisfying series’ ending may add up to a more substantive package in voters’ eyes.

Release date: July 11
Warner Bros.
Read the Variety review

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