Was ‘Avatar”s Zoe Saldana Snubbed By the Oscars?

Well, James Cameron thinks so at least. Sure most of us would agree that if honors were being handed out for Avatar‘s acting, then obviously Michelle Rodriguez’s five-line cameo deserves to be the front-runner. But Cameron’s likely pleading his case with thesp Zoe Saldana in mind, arguing that despite being made up, Photoshopped, and CGI’ed, Saldana’s ability to remind all of us that inside our organs, there lies something squishier–feelings!–should’ve earned her a Best Supporting Actress nomination.

Cameron tells the New York Daily News, “People confuse what we have done with animation. It’s nothing like animation. The creator here is the actor, not the unseen hand of an animator.” (Slate wondered, pointedly, yesterday, “How is Avatar not an animated film?”) It sort of sounds like Cameron’s saying the audience couldn’t separate actual actors from animated characters, rather than thinking maybe the acting wasn’t exactly Avatar‘s strength.

At the same time, Cameron’s staying realistic about Avatar taking home any of the nine prizes it’s nominated for. “If we get nominated, I believe it’s very unlikely that we will win because I made such a jackass of myself last time. Although there might be some curiosity about what I might do,” he says. Last time, you’ll recall, there was talk about being the king of the world and the world was like, “Wrap it up, Jimmy, these quaaludes are starting to kick in.”

But here’s another possibility: Maybe Avatar is getting some version of the Lord of the Rings treatment–that is, upon getting wind that this could become the first big franchise of this decade, the Academy has decided to hold off on acting prizes. But that’s still inconsistent with the film’s possibly undeserved Best Picture nomination. LOTR didn’t enjoy that until after the series had wrapped with The Return of the King. Awards or not, Avatar–Cameron’s labor of love for nearly 15 years–is getting one thing that many Oscar nominees, post-telecast, will fail to enjoy: Major box office $ucce$$.

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