×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Why Do Oscar Voters Keep Sleeping on the ‘Mission: Impossible’ Franchise?

Paramount and Tom Cruise’s “Mission: Impossible” franchise is 22 years old this year. The films, five so far, have amassed north of $2.7 billion at the worldwide box office, and the latest installment — “Mission: Impossible – Fallout” — is guaranteed to send that number sailing past $3 billion in due time.

From day one, the films have been fresh and inventive action spectacles. Cruise and director Brian De Palma set the tone for the series early on with that dazzling CIA vault sequence in 1996. The now-iconic scene found the film’s global superstar suspended by wires in a brightly lit chamber, all leading to that hair-raising (and silent) plunge to within an inch of the floor, expert editing dialing up the tension throughout.

In recent years, this element of the series has been smartly played up in advance. Cruise’s death-defying stunt sequences in 2011’s “Ghost Protocol,” 2015’s “Rogue Nation” and the upcoming “Fallout” have anchored a lot of the marketing, promising things you just don’t see every day. To put a point on it, the “Mission: Impossible” films have consistently represented the most refined and innervating of American blockbuster filmmaking…

…and yet not one single installment has received an Oscar nomination.

No one is expecting a best picture notice, but to deny the craft that has been sunk into these movies for two decades is folly. The tightly calibrated editing of “Rogue Nation,” the immersive sound design of “Ghost Protocol,” the bite and verve of Philip Seymour Hoffman’s villain in J.J. Abrams’ third installment — there have been valid elements to single out along the way. “Fallout” is no exception.

Director Christopher McQuarrie is at the height of his powers here, as the first wave of effusive reviews establishes. As a writer, he has conceived sequences on the page that only the boldest dreamers could hope to capture in-camera, then turned around and done just that, with staggering aplomb. The entire climax of this film, which felt like about 20 minutes of pure adrenaline-pumping insanity, is a cinematic marvel. Nothing is wasted. Every piece of visual information propels the sequence forward. The editing is absolute. The sound puts you right there. The cinematography leaves your jaw on the ground at the sheer gall of it all. And Cruise — as ever and like a boss — lays it all on the line for our entertainment.

It’s not that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has a measurable bias against this breed of filmmaking. After all, it wasn’t so long ago that films like “Die Hard,” “Speed,” “Crimson Tide” and “Air Force One” could find room in an Oscar category or two. But the “Mission: Impossible” films have been utterly ignored. Why?

This isn’t some lazy riff on a formerly popular television series. It is, and has been, a next-level evolution of studio spectacle. Every tool in a filmmaker’s arsenal is on full, glorious display. These are artisans working at the very top level. What, exactly, are the Oscars meant to recognize if not that?

Dear voters: Give this one a hard look. You know quality when you see it.

More Film

  • WGA Agents Contract Tug of War

    Showrunners, Screenwriters Back WGA in Agency Battle, Sides to Meet Again Tuesday

    More than 750 showrunners and screenwriters have backed the WGA’s battle against talent agencies taking packaging fees and other changes to the rules governing the business relationship between agents and writers. The letter of support issued Saturday is significant because of the immense clout showrunners and prominent screenwriters possess in Hollywood. Several showrunners had recently [...]

  • Doppelgänger Red (Lupita Nyong'o) and Adelaide

    Box Office: 'Us' on Track for Second-Highest Debut of 2019 With $67 Million

    Jordan Peele’s “Us” is on its way to scaring up one of the biggest debuts of 2019, with an estimated $67 million from 3,741 North American locations. Should estimates hold, “Us” will be able to claim several milestones: the highest debut for an original horror movie (the biggest launch for any horror pic goes to [...]

  • 'The Dirt' Review: A Mötley Crüe

    Film Review: 'The Dirt'

    A long time ago, the words sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll carried a hint of danger. The lifestyle did, too, but I’m talking about the phrase. It used to sound cool (back around the time the word “cool” sounded cool). But sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll has long since passed into the realm [...]

  • James Newton Howard Danny Elfman

    New Trend in Concert Halls: Original Music by Movie Composers — No Film Required

    Movie and TV composers are in greater demand than ever for, surprisingly, new music for the concert hall. For decades, concert commissions for film composers were few and far between. The increasing popularity of John Williams’ film music, and his visibility as conductor of the Boston Pops in the 1980s and ’90s, led to his [...]

  • Idris Elba Netflix 'Turn Up Charlie'

    Idris Elba in Talks to Join Andy Serkis in 'Mouse Guard'

    Idris Elba is in negotiations to join Andy Serkis and Thomas Brodie-Sangster in Fox’s fantasy-action movie “Mouse Guard” with “Maze Runner’s” Wes Ball directing. Fox is planning a live-action movie through performance capture technology employed in the “Planet of the Apes” films, in which Serkis starred as the ape leader Caesar. David Peterson created, wrote, [...]

  • Zac Efron Amanda Seyfried

    Zac Efron, Amanda Seyfried Join Animated Scooby-Doo Film as Fred and Daphne

    Zac Efron has signed on to voice Fred Jones while Amanda Seyfried will voice Daphne Blake in Warner Bros.’ animated Scooby-Doo feature film “Scoob.” It was revealed earlier this month that Will Forte had been set to voice Norville “Shaggy” Rogers, while Gina Rodriguez would be voicing Velma Dinkley. The mystery-solving teens and their talking [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content