Vin Diesel's strong prediction of Furious 7 as Best Picture should see light

At 15 years, the illustrious Fast and Furious franchise has released its latest and best installment yet, Furious 7, which became the ninth largest box office release in history. The adversities, combined with an assemble cast and creative plots, ought to be more than enough for the high-octane film to garner at least an Oscar nomination. Co-star Vin Diesel said last month his movie will probably win Best Picture at at the Oscars, unless the Oscars don't want to be relevant ever."

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In an interview with Variety Magazine late March, actor Vin Diesel had insisted that the latest installment of the Fast and Furious saga will “probably win Best Picture at the Oscars, unless the Oscars don’t want to be relevant ever." He later added: "There is nothing that will ever come close to the power of this thing" – referring to Furious 7, the latest and best chapter to the most successful franchise in the history of Universal Studios.

Doesn't every actor or director feel they should be at the Oscars? Even though Vin's bold statement may have conveyed to most as just a mere tactic to market the film, his strong prediction actually presents validity. 

“Why won’t the Oscars nominate movies people actually see?” he later added. Case in point.

Since it’s opening on April 3, Furious 7 has grossed a whopping $1.4 billion –- currently making it the fourth highest-grossing film of all time. These lofty figures have smoked previous Oscar winners and the nominees by nearly a mile.

A total of 26 combined nominations were granted to The Grand Budapest Hotel, The Imitation Game, and Birdman, which won Best Picture, at the Academy Awards in February. The films grossed only $477 million –combined. The so-called best movies of the year were even seeing the taillights of Fast’s previous two installments, Fast Five ($626.1 million) and Fast and Furious 6 ($788.7 million).

So why not Furious 7 for Best Picture, or even any nominations with its previous films or others of similar genres 

It comes down to what is more suitable to this country’s general audience and what they feel should represent the illustrious award. The Fast flicks – themed with ample unrealistic stunts, both dramatic and cheesy one-liners in an action/adventure, quasi-comedy genre -- are not exactly the committee's forte, traditionally. That must change. 

I’m not implying that it’s all about money when it comes to the Fast saga being acknowledged at the Oscars. Entertainment should be appreciated in all forms of it as an art and the creativity displayed, and that is what should be recognized. Furious 7 presents the elements of cheer, laughter, action, drama, and emotion, especially with the last five minutes: the touching tribute to Paul Walker, who played Brian O’Connor in six of the seven films. It was reported that Walker had completed 85 percent of his scenes before his untimely death in November of 2013. Along with computer-generated imagery and his two brothers filling in as stand-ins, Walker’s role in the movie was completed.

You rarely have movies in the Oscars that present the ability to cheer while watching. To combine that excitement with the components of laughter and emotion which this movie offers, an impeccable result transpires. 

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, an organization of more than 7,000 filmmakers and film professionals, apparently feel it’s more acceptable to nominate films tailored to subject matter more than the craft of compelling scriptwriting and positive audience reception. By not doing that, it erases the essence of even hosting such an event.

I am by no means saying that the movies from the Oscars haven’t been of exceptional quality – let's make that clear -- but it seems like the voters have made it a priority to stick a giant sign on the grease board in the meeting room to never, ever nominate films that resemble Fast – which the saga has recorded a whopping $3.8 billion since its inception 15 years ago.

Other films that have even had more success in the box office than the Fast flicks can state the same question as to never being nominated: The Avengers, The Dark Knight, Harry Potter and a couple of The Hunger Games films.

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Diversity impact

This film/franchise speaks to more than just one audience. Many cultures are represented. That has not been documented before, at least to this magnitude of success. It's the start of a movement. According to the Hollywood Reporter, 75 percent of the North American audience for Furious 7 was nonwhite. Hispanics made up 37 percent of the ticket buyers, followed by Caucasians (25%), African Americans (24%) and Asians (10%). 

The “family” and reoccurring characters: Vin (multi-racial), Walker (Caucasian), Tyrese and Ludacris (both African-American), Gal Gadot (Israeli), Suan Kang (Korean) and Dwayne “The Rock “Johnson (Samoan heritage).

Social media, broadcast impact 

Diesel, also a producer for this film, is the fourth most-popular celebrity on Facebook, with more than 90 million fans (more than Justin Bieber, Taylor Swift and President Obama), and the Fast Facebook page has more than 57 million followers, more than Marvel (19 million) and Star Wars (13 million) combined.

Unlike the rest of its competition, the unique element of this saga is that it’s not based on any comics or novels. It's homegrown. To basically start from scratch then escalate to this level of prowess is unprecedented.

The adversity

Before resumed production, writers had to scramble and rewrite many parts of the script for four months after Walker’s death, which had forced production shutdown. It was uncertain to determine whether the film would even be completed. After getting back on track, it was eventually released a year later.

Was the project perfect by any means? No film will ever be.

Should have Vin and Jason Statham’s character suffered more noticeable injuries after making a head-on-collision from playing chicken with their cars? Without question.

Did anyone think Ludacris’ character could blow past a security henchman in Abu Dhabi? Heck no! (Ludacris has said in interviews that he insisted on the directors to allow him be involved in a fight scene. Sure, why not).

Do you really think The Rock’s character can break an arm cast by just straight flexing? Doubt it (I don’t know, maybe he can). It's like satire on steroids. But that's the essence of these movies, and it has played a vital success role. Accept it.

An overall exceptional job was rendered to millions. The record-breaking film that took the world by storm incorporated a bevy of elements adequately pieced together. It would be egregious behavior for Furious 7, or any other film that mirrors similar qualities, to be eschewed from the event next February that honors the best of the best in the film industry.