The Academy Awards, more popularly known as the Oscars, is an annual American award ceremony held by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences that celebrates and honors works and achievements in the film industry. 

Various films have joined the ranks of films awarded “Best Picture” since the inception of the Academy Awards ceremony. However, science fiction films have notably been absent from that list of winners, despite a growing number of nominations for “Best Picture” in recent years. Is it possible that this trend might change in 2014?

This year, not one but two science fiction films have been nominated for the “Best Picture” category at the 86th annual Academy Awards. On one end is “Gravity,” a space sci-fi thriller directed by Alfonso Cuarón (“Children of Men”) that follows two astronauts trying to make their way back to Earth after a mid-orbit debris collision cripples their space shuttle. On the other end is “Her,” a sci-fi romance drama directed by Spike Jonze (“Where the Wild Things Are”) that explores the relationship of a man named Theodore (Joaquin Phoenix) with the artificial intelligent personality of his phone’s operating system (Scarlett Johansson).

While both films have been praised significantly by critics and moviegoers alike, many critics appear to have put their support behind “12 Years a Slave” a historical epic drama film directed by British filmmaker Steve McQueen.

Despite the lack of “Best Picture” awards to sci-fi films by the Academy, several films in the science fiction genre have taken home awards for best achievement in cinematography, sound mixing, sound editing and especially visual effects.

Can “Gravity” or “Her” break the historic trend? In the meantime take a look back at some of the best science fiction films that have been nominated for “Best Picture” or other Academy Award categories over the years here.

Be sure to check out the Academy Awards ceremony on March 2.

2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

Won: Best Effects (Visual Effects)

Nominated: Best Director, Best Writing, Best Art Direction

A Clockwork Orange (1971) Nominated

Nominated: Best Director, Best Writing (Screenplay Based on material from Another Medium) , Best Film Editing

Star Wars (1977) Nominated

Won: Best Art Direction, Best Costume Design, Best Sound, Best Film editing, Best Effects (Visual Effects), Best Original Score

Nominated: Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Alec Guinness), Best Director, Best Writing

E.T. (1982) Nominated


Won: Best Sound, Best Effects (Visual Effects), Best Effects (Sound Effects Editing), Best Original Score

Nominated: Best Writing, Best Cinematography, Best Film Editing

Avatar (2009) Nominated

Won: Best Cinematography, Best Effects (Visual Effects), Best Art Director

Nominated: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Film Editing, Best Original Score, Best Sound Mixing, Best Sound Editing

District 9 (2009) Nominated

Nominated: Best Writing, Best Film Editing, Best Effects (Visual Effects)

Inception (2010) Nominated

Won: Best Achievement in Cinematography, Best Sound Mixing, Best Sound Editing, Best Effects (Visual Effects)

Nominated: Best Writing (Original Screenplay), Best Original Score, Best Art Direction