‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ and Other Sci-Fi Films on TCM’s 31 Days of Oscar

2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
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Each day, Remind will direct you to at least one (often several) notable classic movies worth tuning in to on TV for a given day.

Turner Classic Movies continues to celebrate this month’s Academy Awards (airing Sunday, March 12 on ABC) with its 31 Days of Oscar programming event, offering a lineup of Oscar-winning and -nominated films from throughout cinema history all month long (it began March 1 and continues through early April 1). This year, titles are grouped into themed genre blocks, with one or two themes spotlighted each day.

31 Days of Oscar is out of this world on the night of Friday, March 10, with a lineup of five Oscar-nominated and/or -winning science fiction classics beginning at 8pm ET.

When the Academy recognizes a sci-fi film, it is often for its visual effects and other technical aspects, and that is certainly the case with all of these titles. Sometimes, though, an especially well-done sci-fi production will also get Oscar nods in major categories, as did tonight’s initial movie, Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977), which earned Steven Spielberg his first Best Director nomination and Melinda Dillon a Supporting Actress nomination.

End credits listing "A Steven Spielberg Film" in "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" (1977)

(Screengrab from youtube.com/@classicmovietrailers2892)

Close Encounters’ incredible visual effects, created by a team that included the legendary Douglas Trumbull, were also nominated, and in nearly any other year the film likely would have won that and the other technical categories for which it was nominated, but it happened to be up against the even more impressive Star Wars. That latter film won a Best Original Score Oscar for composer John Williams, who had also received a nomination in that category for his score to Spielberg’s film. Among its eight nominations, Close Encounters did win for its cinematography by Vilmos Zsigmond, and a Special Achievement Award for sound effects editing was given to Frank E. Warner.

Also in tonight’s lineup of acclaimed sci-fi films are:

2001: A Space Odyssey (1968): won for its visual effects by Stanley Kubrick (the effects team also included Trumbull); Kubrick was also nominated for Best Director and for the screenplay he cowrote with Arthur C. Clarke, and the film received an additional nomination for its set decoration.

The Time Machine (1960): won in its only nominated category (Best Special Effects)

Destination Moon (1950): winner for its special effects and also a nominee for its set decoration

Forbidden Planet (1956): received a Best Special Effects nomination.