Galaxy Quest

Galaxy Quest won the Hugo for Best Dramatic Presentation in 2000, beating The Matrix, The Sixth Sense, Being John Malkovich and The Iron Giant in that order That was also the order at nominations phase, Galaxy Quest three votes ahead of The Matrix for the top spot and Toy Story 2 just two votes away from the last place on the ballot. In final ballot voting it came behind The Matrix on first preferences but picked up a lot more transfers for a convincing win.

movie poster

It also won the 2000 Nebula for Best Script, awarded in 2001; the Nebulas at this point were suffering from a rather weird nomination system that meant they were often a year behind the curve. The Sixth Sense had previously won the Nebula for 1999, beating The Matrix and The Iron Giant. The other 2000 finalists were Being John Malkovich again, The Green Mile, Princess Mononoke, Dogma and Unbreakable, this last being the only 2000 release on the list.

IMDB users rank it 16th on one ranking and 33rd on the other, way behind The Sixth Sense (14th and 5th) not to mention Oscar-winner American Beauty (8th and 4th). I liked it a lot more than either of the other two.

There is one actor here who has been in two previous Hugo-winning films, and briefly in an Oscar-winning film. It is of course Sigourney Weaver, here playing Gwen DeMarco playing Lieutenant Tawny Madison, previously Ripley in Alien and Aliens, and also Woody Allen's last girlfriend in Annie Hall.

Sigourney Weaver in Galaxt Quest, showing off cleavage
Sigourney Weaver in Aliens Crew of the Nostromo in Alien Sigourney Weaver and Woody Allen, seen from far away in Annie Hall

There is also a Whoniverse crossover. Under many layers of make-up and prosthetics, alien leader Sarris is played by Robin Sachs, best known to me as Ethan Rayne in Buffy the Vampire SlayerTorchwood.

alien leader Sarris
Robin Sachs seen on a TV screen

Well. Anne and I loved this film. As you surely know, it's about the cast of a long-past science fiction TV series, who are reunited by aliens who think it was all real, to assist in their ongoing battle with other aliens. There are several scenes at Galaxy Quest conventions, very very familiar to anyone who has ever attended such an event (and a bit close to the bone, perhaps). The captain is played by Tim Allen, who I was vaguely aware of; I may have caught an episode or two of Home Improvement back in the day. Alan Rickman totally steals the show as Alexander Dane playing Dr. Lazarus, an alien Mak'tar, and actually comes closest to having a character arc, beginning utterly jaded by his ongoing association with his fictional role, and ending by sharing the inspiration he has engendered – by Grabthar's hammer!

It's an affectionate look at fandom and the secret hopes that we sometimes have that our favourite show is more than just people being paid to read out lines of a script. It would have been easy for this to degenerate into point-and-laugh, or alternatively to take itself too seriously, but somehow the film manages to steer a middle path. I'm putting it in my top ten Hugo and Nebula winning films, just below Terminator 2: Judgement Day and above Contact.

Why did none of you tell me it was this good? (Well, actually a lot of you did.) I liked it a lot more than either The Sixth Sense or American Beauty, and I can see why Hugo voters in the end preferred it to The Matrix (though not sure which I would have voted for myself).

Next in this list is Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, which won both Hugo and Nebula the following year; but first, Gladiator.

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