Michael Bay’s blockbuster Transformers films have always been divisive among critics and cinephiles. But there’s no denying the technical wizardry and popcorn entertainment value of the mega-budget robot action franchise.
So when the first Transformers film failed to receive a single Oscar nomination in 2008 despite grossing over $700 million, Bay was understandably outraged at the snub. 15 years later, the director is finally airing his grievances towards the Academy for overlooking his 2007 box office smash hit.
Michael Bay Says Academy Biased Against Popcorn Blockbusters
In a throwback interview with Collider, Bay didn’t mince words about the Oscars ignoring Transformers. “We lost the Oscar to The Golden Compass, which didn’t do very well at the box office. And that was bullsh-t,” Bay fumed. He argued that the Academy has a bias against big popcorn action movies, even when they are hugely successful with audiences.
Transformers kickstarted a multi-billion dollar franchise for Paramount and had all the hallmarks of a visual effects Oscar contender. But the Academy chose to nominate Flop The Golden Compass for Visual Effects instead. For Bay, the snub represents the Oscars being out of touch with mainstream movies.
Michael Bay Wanted More Respect for the Hard Work and Visual Effects
Bay didn’t necessarily think Transformers deserved Best Picture. But he believes technical awards should have been within reach. “I make commercial movies, but they should get more respect for what we do,” Bay stated. The director said crew members worked themselves to exhaustion on Transformers because they believed in the project. To get blanked across the board was disheartening.
While the Transformers movies have their detractors, there’s no denying the technical wizardry involved. The Academy could have recognized categories like Sound Editing, Visual Effects, or Sound Mixing. Being passed over entirely struck Bay as insulting for a movie that dominated the 2007 box office and pop culture landscape.
Snubbing of Transformers Was Just the Beginning for Oscar Dissappointments
Unfortunately for Michael Bay, the Transformers Oscar snub would be the first of many. Sequels like Revenge of the Fallen, Dark of the Moon, and Age of Extinction also failed to pick up nominations despite continued commercial success. The critically panned franchise has become a punchline for some.
But Bay is clearly proud of the work, even if the snooty Academy won’t give him the time of day. “I know those movies really resonant with people,” he stated. And Bay hasn’t given up hope yet, stating “We’re gonna get nominated someday.” But based on his lingering saltiness towards the 2007 snub, don’t expect Bay to let go of the Oscar diss anytime soon.
For now, the 2007 snub continues to sting. But with Bay still churning out over-the-top blockbusters like Ambulance, he clearly isn’t letting the opinions of Oscar voters dictate the movies he makes. As long as Bay delivers the explosive action and visual razzle-dazzle viewers expect, he knows Transformers left a permanent mark on pop culture, awards or no awards.