It may not be the future of film as some herald it, but it doesn't take a psychic to realize that 3-D, gimmick it may still seem, is here to say. Two unrelated news items today coalesced together into a dawning realization, is an Academy Awards category for Best 3-D Film inevitable? But before the examination of such a hypothetical category, let's take a look at the news that inspired this post.

The Final Destination wins the international Hollywood box office.
According to Screen Daily, The Final Destination took in $17.3mil on its opening weekend run around the globe. Considering how poorly received the newest entry in the death-claims-all franchise was critically, that may seem like a surprise, but the mere presence of eye wear is the chief explanation for the successful haul. Russia alone accounted for roughly half of the weekend total, and according to the same report, half of Russia's contributions were driven by the extra premium charged for the third dimension.

What's that mean? Well for one, more crappy horror movies are going to go the 3-D route from now on. This trend was already on the rise, but studios will not ignore a win at the domestic and international box offices. And for two, more 3-D films of all genres will be on the rise. Clearly The Final Destination is not the sole catalyst for this gimmick renaissance, but it is the latest check box in a long column of studio wins.

The Hole wins the inaugural Persol 3-D Award for the Best 3-D Stereoscopic Film of the Year at the Venice International Film Festival. There's no doubt that Venice holds one of the most respected film festivals annually, and this year they decided to create an award to honor the best in 3-D filmmaking. Not only did they create the award, but it's one of the few accolades that covers non-festival films. Instead, the Persol 3-D Award is for the best use of 3-D produced globally the year prior to the fest.

That means that The Hole, Joe Dante's family-friendly horror film, beat out the likes of Coraline and Pixar's Up for the top honor. The idea of a movie as transcendental as Up being outdone by a new film from the man who directed Piranha, frankly, blows my mind. Don't get me wrong, I love Joe Dante and am thrilled at the idea of him making any new film, but we're talking the behemoth that is Pixar and the impossible-to-hate Up here.

So if a movie as intellectually shallow as The Final Destination can topple Inglourious Basterds in regards to international business using only the huckster perception of depth, and if the Venice International Film Festival creates a brand new category to crown the best in a reborn medium (giving the prize to the severe underdog, no less), then how long do we have 'til the American Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences creates a new category for Best 3-D Film?

The category for Best Animated Feature was first included in the ceremony in 2001 as the Academy's response to the unassailable rise in both the quantity and quality of animated films. Now if Hollywood's love affair for 3-D remains as hot and heavy as all signs indicate, will it be another short six years (six being the interval between Toy Story and the creation of the Oscar it would have won) before the new category is born? Could Avatar be the catalyst that sets things in motion?

I think the award is inevitable at this point. I am not the biggest fan of 3-D, but it is Hollywood's most potent brew of snake oil on the market right now, and if Hollywood does only one thing well, it's patting itself on the back. Take the forthcoming expansion of Best Feature Film to 10 nominees as a clear concession for including mass appeal films like The Dark Knight in the mix with limited run films like The Reader. At this point, I see nothing that raises doubt as to whether or not there will be a new Oscar, even if it's relegated to the unaired technical awards. How long is the only remaining variable.

My money is on 4 years, a third shorter than the Toy Story gap. The campaign kick off will start not long after Avatar and crest with the Steven Spielberg, Peter Jackson co-production of The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn. After that, I wager the bigwig clout invested in 3-D will be too big for the self-congratulatory Academy, who have failed year-after-year to re-establish relevancy with the public at large, to ignore.

Anyone think it'll happen sooner? Later? Am I completely wrong in thinking it is inevitable?