Guardians of the Galaxy won both the Hugo and Bradbury Awards in 2015. It was way ahead at the nominations stage of the Hugos, for reasons that we will get to, and achieved a comfortable victory on the final ballot.
There was an unusually strong overlap between the two awards, as all five Hugo finalists were also on the Bradbury ballot; the other four were Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Interstellar, Edge of Tomorrow and The Lego Movie. The Bradbury Award had one more finalist, Birdman (which won the Oscar, so I’ll get to it next). The only one of these I have seen is The Lego Movie, and I loved it.
769 nominations was the highest number for any Hugo nominee in any category that year. Of course this was the year of the Puppies, when five categories were No-Awarded. Guardians of the Galaxy was in fact the only Puppy nominee which actually won. It’s pretty clear that it would have been on the ballot anyway even without Puppy assistance – there were at most 300 Puppy nominators, so even taking them away has it level-pegging with Interstellar, and both of them well ahead of any other nominee, Puppy or not.
IMDB users rank Guardians of the Galaxy 2nd and 7th best film of the year on the two rankings. Interstellar is top of both lists. Might it have won the Hugo without the Puppies? The winning margin was less than 800 votes, and there were over a thousand Puppy voters. We’ll never know.
I found one actor who had been in a previous Oscar winner, one from a previous Hug winner, and one actor who had been in Doctor Who. The first of these is John C. Reilly, Rhomann Dey here, who got an Oscar nomination for his role as Renee Zellweger’s husband in Chicago.
Returning from a previous cameo appearance in The Avengers is Stan Lee, aged 90 at the time of filming.
The Doctor Who crossover is a bit more prominent; villainous Nebula is played by Karen Gillan, fresh from her portrayal of Amy Pond.
So, I have to say that I was not really all that impressed. It’s basically yer usual Marvel superhero film, where a bunch of good guys (and a gal) get together to save the universe from the bad guys (and a gal), with superb special effects and action, shafts of wit in the script, and a couple of cute humanoids – Vin Diesel stealing many scenes with only three words.
But I was not really invested in any of the characters or in their quest. I’m putting it just ahead of The Avengers, for having Karen Gillan, but below The Princess Bride, so just above the three-quarter mark down my ranking of Hugo, Nebula and Bradbury winners (41st out of 56).
Next up is that year’s Oscar winner, Birdman, of which I know very little. The following year the Bradbury went to Mad Max: Fury Road and the Hugo to The Martian. I’ll get to them in due course.