"Avatar" unlikely to match "Titanic" Oscar haul

Tue Jan 19, 2010 2:42am EST
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By Gregg Kilday

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - "Avatar" is no "Titanic" -- at least, not yet.

At the box office, the Fox release is powering away. Having topped $1.6 billion in worldwide grosses, it's within hailing distance of "Titanic's" record of $1.84 billion, long considered unassailable.

On the awards circuit, though, it's another story. James Cameron's visit to another planet didn't begin screening until early December and was ignored by the first wave of awards givers including the National Board of Review and the American Film Institute. (Having left "Avatar" off its list of top 10 films of 2009, the AFI later put it on its list of "moments of significance.")

"Avatar" also was among the missing when the Screen Actors Guild announced its nominations December 17.

Although the movie received plenty of enthusiastic reviews, the nation's top critics' groups -- Los Angeles, New York, the National Society of Film Critics -- unanimously bestowed their top movie prizes on Kathryn's Bigelow's war-torn "The Hurt Locker."

Even when the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. unveiled its nominations December 15, the four nominations for "Avatar" were fewer than "Up in the Air" (six) and "Nine" (five).

Since then, though, "Avatar" has been building momentum steadily. As guild nominations have been unveiled in recent weeks, it has picked up mentions from the groups representing producers, directors, writers, art directors, cinematographers, cinema editors and visual effects artists.

On Sunday, "Avatar" walked off with two key prizes at the 67th annual Golden Globes: best motion picture drama and best director.   Continued...

<p>Director of the movie James Cameron and his wife Suzy Amis pose at the premiere of "Avatar" at the Mann's Grauman Chinese theatre in Hollywood, California in this December 16, 2009 file photo. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni</p>