Disney’s as afraid of spoilers ruining the plot of Star Wars as your average internet commenter, it seems. According to the Wrap, the studio won’t enter The Force Awakens into the National Board of Review’s Best Film honors, which announces its winners on December 1, or to any critics’ awards before its December 18 release. This means that there also won’t be any prizes for the film at the New York Film Critics Circle awards (on Dec. 2), the Los Angeles Film Critics Association honors (on Dec. 6), or the Screen Actors Guild Awards (on Dec. 9).
Of course, Star Wars wasn’t necessarily going to win, or be nominated, at any of these competitions in the first place. The National Board of Review, for instance, tends to go for smaller critical darlings, which don’t always make it into major-awards consideration — in the last two years, the group chose Her and A Most Violent Year — and, unless everything we know about the glossy, big-budget Star Wars is wrong, The Force Awakens probably won’t play to their taste. Missing out on the other awards shows might prevent the film from building momentum, but again, Star Wars has enough attention directed at it already. If it’s good enough, plenty of people will notice.
There’s also a history of critics breaking embargoes on big projects and leaking plot details before the studios want audiences to know about them. The New Yorker’s David Denby did it once for The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and managed to provoke a pretty strong response from the studio in the process. Disney seems to trust critics as much as Luke Skywalker trusts his X-wing’s targeting computer, and they seem to have decided not to risk letting any plot points leak instead of going for an all-out awards push.