Page last updated at 15:17 GMT, Friday, 5 March 2010

JJ Abrams predicts science-fiction win at the Oscars

By Tim Masters
Entertainment correspondent, BBC News, in Los Angeles

JJ Abrams and Tom Cruise
Abrams and Cruise walked the green carpet at the Oscar Wilde awards

Star Trek director JJ Abrams says he has high hopes of a science fiction film winning the best film Oscar.

"I think there's a real shot," he told the BBC. "I know everyone's looking at Avatar, but I was a huge fan of District 9 as well.

"I'm just excited that they're both up there, nominated for best picture."

Abrams was honoured on Thursday for his contribution to the film industry at the Oscar Wilde awards, which celebrate Irish-American film-making.

The 43-year-old, who also created the television series Lost, missed out on an Oscar nomination for best film - although his Star Trek reboot is listed in the technical, sound and make-up categories.

"I'm a huge fan of sci-fi and fantasy, horror," he told the BBC, "so as long as the films keep getting made, whatever awards they win or don't win is sort of beside the point."

A science fiction film has never won a best picture Oscar, the closest being Peter Jackson's fantasy epic Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, in 2004.

In 1977, Star Wars was beaten to the prize by Woody Allen's Annie Hall, and five years later Gandhi won best picture over ET: The Extra Terrestrial.

Star Trek sequel

Star Trek
Star Trek has a total of four Oscar nominations

Abrams was introduced at Thursday's ceremony by Tom Cruise, who described him as "a film-maker who doesn't set borders - a great guy and an incredible artist".

The pair recently announced they will be making Mission: Impossible 4, with Cruise reprising his role as as Ethan Hunt. The film is to be released in May 2011.

Abrams said: "I'm working with Tom on the script and we are getting a director very soon, so I'm very excited. We had such a good time on the one we did before."

Meanwhile, the director is also preparing a Star Trek sequel.

"We are at the beginning stages and a script does not exist yet so it's hard to know. But I would love to work with those actors again," he said.

"I want to do everything I can to make it the best movie possible which might, of course, mean that I shouldn't direct it - so we'll see."

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