The Best of Sci-Fi & Fantasy: Saturn & Nebula Awards

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Posted on February 11, 2018

The Nebula Awards have only one category that suits our topic of choice here at The Film Experience and it’s called the Ray Bradbury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation. [Nominees, Book Recommendations, and Oscar connections are after the jump.]

Nebula Dramatic Presentation

  • The Avengers, Joss Whedon (director) and Joss Whedon and Zak Penn (writers)
  • Beasts of the Southern Wild, Benh Zeitlin (director), Benh Zeitlin and Lucy Abilar (writers)
  • The Cabin in the Woods, Drew Goddard (director), Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard (writers)
  • The Hunger Games, Gary Ross (director), Gary Ross, Suzanne Collins, and Billy Ray writers)
  • John Carter, Andrew Stanton (director), Michael Chabon, Mark Andrews, and Andrew Stanton (writers)
  • Looper, Rian Johnson (director), Rian Johnson (writer)

Interesting to see the slightly altered reality/allegory of Best Picture nomineeBeasts of the Southern Wild in the mix with all these pure genre efforts. But the Nebula Awards are more useful as a book suggestion tool. Here’s a list of all their literary nominees.

Have any of you read any of their six Best Novel nominees? 

The nominees: Throne of the Crescent Moon is a fantasy debut from an Arab American author; Iron Moon is described as a ‘steampunk Beauty & the Beast’; The Killing Moon has something to do with ‘dream harvesting’; The Drowning Girl’s protagonists is either schizophrenic or has contact with creatures of myth; Glamour in Glass is some sort of magical twist tribute to Jane Austen; 2312 is an epic vision of the future where Earth is no longer our only home in the solar system.  Will any ever become movies? None of these authors have ever been adapted for the screen. That seems strangest at first glance for Kim Stanley Robinson who has written 19 novels and won many awards over his career.

I appreciate any group that limits their nominations because then it feels like an achievement to be nominated. In contrast the Saturn Awards are much like the Golden Satellites in that they have so many categories it feels like it’s impossible NOT to be nominated if you made a genre film in any given year. They have separate best picture categories for scifi, fantasy, horror/thriller, action/adventure and indepedent release and six to seven nominees in all of them. This basically means that they have 31 Best Picture nominees this year. TOO MANY! And the titles mean so little… did you know that Les Misérables was an “Action/Adventure” film? Was it the escape through the sewers sequence? Five of Oscar’s Best Picture nominees are in that mix: Argo, Zero Dark Thirty, Les Miz, Life of Pi and Django Unchained.  If you’re interested you can read all of their nominations here — The Hobbit leads with Life of Pi in second place but just to give you a taste here are their actressy nominations.


  • Jessica Chastain, Zero Dark Thirty
  • Ann Dowd, Compliance
  • Zoe Kazan, Ruby Sparks
  • Jennifer Lawrence, The Hunger Games
  • Helen Mirren, Hitchcock
  • Naomi Watts, The Impossible

Bizarre sorority, yes? Given that 90% of their 31 Best Picture nominees are male-driven films, the only significant omission here is Noomi Rapace in Prometheus (Michael Fassbender is nominated for supporting actor…as well he should be).


  • Judi Dench, Skyfall
  • Gina Gershon, Killer Joe
  • Anne Hathaway, The Dark Knight Rises
  • Anne Hathaway, Les Misérables
  • Nicole Kidman, The Paperboy
  • Charlize Theron, Snow White and the Huntsman

They weren’t going for subtlety with this list but it’s super fun. That said I find the exclusion of Eva Green for Dark Shadows ten kinds of unfortunate (in the only awards tailor made for it) since Chloe Moretz found a nomination for it in Young Actor.