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'Hamilton' Might Be Up for Oscar if Disney Pushes Hard Enough

Alexander Hamilton Might Get an Oscar!

By Culture SlatePublished 4 years ago 3 min read

The film industry is filled with prestigious film awards, but none carry a greater weight than the Academy Awards, AKA the Oscars. An Oscar can launch careers, bring films to public attention, and possibly put it them the pantheon of the greatest titles. The phrase "Academy Award Winner" in front of a film or performer instantly adds legitimacy. While any studio would love to collect an Oscar, arguably none push harder than Disney.

Disney is no stranger to the Academy Awards. Walt Disney himself won a whopping 22 Oscars, a record that will likely never be broken. He alone held the record for most Oscars in one night with four, until it was tied by Bong Joon-Ho for his 2019 Best Picture winning film Parasite.

Disney as a studio has also had Oscar success. Disney and Pixar have won 13 Best Animated Feature Oscars. There have also been several wins thanks to the music of some of these films. Most notably, Julie Andrews won Best Actress for her role in Mary Poppins. Long story short, Disney has no shortage of Oscar success. As a company that strives to be at the forefront of not only entertainment but awards as well, it will never stop in its attempts to continue its unprecedented success.

This brings us to Hamilton.

Hamilton took the world by storm upon its release in 2015, causing sellout crowds night after night and receiving a record 16 Tony Award nominations, winning 11 of them. The amount of people who could actually see it was extremely limited. Due to demand, the only people who could actually watch it live either had a lot of money or were extremely lucky in winning the ticket lottery. With all of this in play, what society had was this amazing, groundbreaking musical that everyone was told was one of the greatest of all time, but, figuratively speaking, nobody outside of a select few could actually see it. Millions wanted to. Thousands could. Then, finally, Disney partnered up with the creator of the production Lin-Manuel Miranda and released a recording of a live performance on Disney+ on July 3, 2020.

Now that the latter half of the year is upon us, the whispers of potential Oscar nominations begin. Most Oscar movies come out in the latter half of the year, as it ensures that they're still fresh in the minds of Academy voters. Disney has begun to push Hamilton to get a nomination for Best Documentary Feature. The Academy has been historically stingy on what it allows for each category. There were pushes for Academy Award nominations for Frank Oz as Yoda and Andy Serkis as Gollum. Since they were not "live-action" performances, so to speak, they were deemed ineligible for nominations.

As of the writing of this article, the Academy has deemed the performance of Hamilton as ineligible for an Academy Award under the documentary category, and it's not hard to see why. Documentaries are instructive, informative, and, ideally, nonfiction. Hamilton is a performance of a fictional, highly stylized version of history. A documentary about the making of Hamilton would make more sense. As it is, the Academy has ruled against the musical's inclusion in the documentary category.

However, Disney is the most powerful entertainment company that the world has ever seen. It even owns ABC, the production company where the Oscars ceremonies are shown. Its influence is unrivaled by any other media company. If any company can make the Academy bend its rules a little, it's Disney. The Academy Awards telecast has seen a dip in viewers year after year. Some people simply do not care about what they might perceive as stuffy, pretentious, seldom-seen films winning major awards. It's possible that the Academy might be willing to bend its rules a little for the increased viewership that nominating one of the most popular musicals in recent history would bring. We saw this logic in action last year with the disastrous attempted inclusion of the "Best Popular Film" category, as well as an increase in the number of Best Picture nominations, which allowed Disney films like Up, Toy Story 3, and Black Panther to be nominated for that award.

Even if the Academy bent its rules and allowed a nomination for Hamilton, the odds of it winning would be next to zero. A loss for Hamilton would be the Academy's pushback against Disney's push for the nomination. It would also open up a floodgate that the Academy might not be able to close. If Hamilton is nominated, there would be nothing stopping other recordings from campaigning for their own nominations.

The odds of the recording of Hamilton being nominated for an Oscar are slim, and its chances at winning are even slimmer. But if anyone can do it, it's Disney.


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Culture Slate

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