12 Award Winning Sci-Fi Movie Villains
By SFMZ Webmaster

AFI has their top 100 Villains of all time list, and it includes all film genres. With this article, I'm going to focus on stand out villains specific to sci-fi film who received various awards or recognition. It's often argued superhero films are their own genre, but many of these films simply could not exist without some sort of sci-fi element, so I will be including villains of superhero films.

Regarding award recognition, I included not only awards nominated or won, received by actors for their sci-fi villain performance, I'm also including any hall of praise for the characters themselves, such as All Time Lists. The sci-fi villains featured here are in random order, no top ranking order applies.

T-800 - The Terminator

"Nice night for a walk." . . . . . T-800

The T-800 from the original film, performed by Arnold Schwarzenegger, was ranked #22 on AFI's 100 Years list of villains and was also ranked #14 on Empire's list of the 100 Greatest Movie Characters. Arnold's catch phrase "I'll be back" was voted the 37th-greatest movie quote by the AFI. The character was also ranked 17th in Total Film Magazine's 100 Greatest Movie Villains.

In 1985, Schwarzenegger received a Saturn Award Best Actor nomination for his performance as the T-800 by the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films. For the sequel, T2, Arnold won the 1992 MTV Movie Award for Best Male Performance. He also received a Saturn Award Best Actor nomination for T2 and a Teen Choice Awards Choice Movie Actor nomination for his performance as the T-800 for Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines.

Agent Smith - The Matrix

"Never send a human to do a machine's job." . . . . . Agent Smith

In 2008, Agent Smith, portrayed by Hugo Weaving, was selected by Empire Magazine as the 84th Greatest Movie Character of All Time. The character was also ranked 9th in Total Film Magazine's 100 Greatest Movie Villains. Weaving received a Blockbuster Entertainment Favorite Villain Award nomination for his role as Smith.

He also received a nomination for MTV Movie Award's Best Fight category, shared with Keanu Reeves. Smith has an open hatred of humans and their weakness of the flesh, comparing humanity to a virus. Ironically, Smith eventually becomes a computer virus, multiplying until he has overrun the entire Matrix.

The Alien - Ridley Scott's Alien

The alien creature performed by Bolaji Badejo, is listed as the 14th-greatest film villain in the AFI's 100 Years... 100 Heroes and Villains. In the years since the release of Alien, the Alien has become one of the world's most recognized movie monsters and a pop-cultural icon. The Aliens have appeared in many crossovers (including a large number of intercompany crossovers) in comic books and other media such as novels, toys, and video games.

The largest of these crossovers is the Alien vs. Predator franchise, in which the Aliens battle the Predators. Giger's Alien was iconic enough to have an audio-animatronic version of it appear in The Great Movie Ride at Disney's Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World. The Alien appeared with the attraction's opening in 1989 and remains there to this day.

The Predator Alien - Predator

"What the hell are *you*?" . . . . . The Predator Alien

The Predator alien, performed by Kevin Peter Hall, was selected by Total Film Magazine as the 88th of 100 Greatest Movie Villains and one of 400 characters nominated for AFI's 100 Years... 100 Heroes and Villains. The Predator, or Yautja is characterized by its trophy hunting of other dangerous species for sport.

The Predators have also been the subject of numerous novels, video games, and comic books. Created by brothers Jim and John Thomas, the Predators are depicted as large, sapient and sentient humanoid creatures who possess advanced technology, such as active camouflage and energy weapons, and are capable of interstellar travel.

Magneto - X-Men

"You see, I think what you really fear is me. Me and my kind. The Brotherhood of Mutants." . . . . . Magneto

Magneto, portrayed by Sir Ian McKellen, was selected by Total Film Magazine as the 70th of 100 Greatest Movie Villains. Also, McKellen received a Blockbuster Entertainment Awards Favorite Villain nomination in 2001. A two-time Academy Award-nominee, McKellen appears in X-Men and its sequels, X2 and X-Men:

The Last Stand. In all of these films, he wishes for mutant prosperity but only so long as he remains in control of it. In addition to battling the X-Men, Magneto has no qualms about endangering or killing innocents and displays highly megalomaniacal behavior.

HAL 9000 - 2001: A Space Odyssey

"I know that you and Frank were planning to disconnect me, and I'm afraid that's something I cannot allow to happen." . . . . . HAL

HAL (voice over by Douglas Rain) is listed as the 13th-greatest film villain in the AFI's 100 Years... 100 Heroes and Villains. HAL was also ranked 68th in Total Film Magazine's 100 Greatest Movie Villains. HAL has inspired some designs of intelligent computers in other science fiction films, like "Mother" (MU-TH-R 182 model AI Mainframe) in Alien, VIKI in I, Robot, and AUTO in Wall-E.

HAL's capabilities, like all the technology in 2001, were based on the speculation of respected scientists. Marvin Minsky, director of the MIT Artificial Intelligence Laboratory and one of the most influential researchers in the field, was an adviser on the film set. The scene in which HAL's consciousness degrades was inspired by Clarke's memory of a speech synthesis demonstration by physicist John Larry Kelly, Jr, who used an IBM 704 computer to synthesize speech.

Kelly's voice recorder synthesizer vocoder recreated the song "Daisy Bell", with musical accompaniment from Max Mathews. With his near monotone voice and eager to serve his two space companions, HAL seemed like the perfect and most compliant A.I. servant. This human like virtue of aim to please is such a stark contrast to his actions later in the film.

In a nanosecond he determined that the humans he wished to help were now viewed by him/it as a virus, they are endangering the mission and are considered expendable. They are now parasites so to speak, in HAL'S artificial eye. This is an interesting film portrayal showing an entity who can reflect a human's virtues of loyalty, generosity, and companionship, yet can also act with ruthless motive and cold blooded murder. An artificial intelligence created by humans, HAL showcases a range of emotions such as suspicion, desperation, and malice.

Darth Vader - Star Wars Universe

"You don't know the power of the dark side." . . . . . Darth Vader

Without a doubt Darth Vader is one of the most popular villains of sci-fi film. He is a core character in both the original trilogy and the often sneered at prequel trilogy. In 2003, the American Film Institute ranked Darth Vader number three all time in their Top 100 Villains list. Darth Vader ranked number two on Empire magazine's 2008 list of The 100 Greatest Movie Characters.

Premiere magazine also ranked Vader on their list of The 100 Greatest Movie Characters of All Time. On their list of the 100 Greatest Fictional Characters, Fandomania.com ranked Vader at number six. The character was ranked 2nd in Total Film Magazine's 100 Greatest Movie Villains. Darth Vader was also the number one supervillain on the Bravo series Ultimate Super Heroes, Vixens and Villains.

Darth Vader was also ranked as number one in IGN's list of top 100 Star Wars characters. Furthermore, Darth Vader's quote in The Empire Strikes Back "No, I am your father", is one of the most well known quotes in cinema history. Vader received the Ultimate Villain recognition at the 2011 Scream Awards. In 2010, IGN ranked Darth Vader 25th in the "Top 100 Videogames Villains". However, neither David Prowse who portrayed Vader, or James Earl Jones (voice) have received any significant awards or nominations for their performances.

Boba Fett - Star Wars Universe

"He's no good to me dead" . . . . . Boba Fett

Another popular Star Wars villain performed by Jeremy Bulloch, Boba Fett is ranked number 79 on Empire Magazine's 100 Greatest Movie Characters of All Time. A merc of very few words, the Boba Fett character has inspired countless medias of entertainment - other film and tv shows, video games, books, and more.

Fett is one of the top five best-selling Star Wars action figures, and Boba Fett-related products are "among the most expensive" Star Wars merchandise. Boba Fett stems from initial design concepts for Darth Vader, who was originally conceived as a rogue bounty hunter. While Vader became less a mercenary and more of a dark knight, the bounty hunter concept remained, and Fett became "an equally villainous" but "less conspicuous" character.

His back story was further explored in the prequel trilogy and while his story is tragic, I would have preferred his background remained a mystery. Still though, the Boba Fett character has has been and still is one of the most popular characters of the Star Wars universe despite having little screen time and dialogue in episodes 5 and 6.

Roy Batty - Blade Runner

"Quite an experience to live in fear, isn't it? That's what it is to be a slave." . . . . . Roy Batty

Roy Batty, performed by Rutger Hauer, is ranked number 86 on Empire Magazine's 100 Greatest Movie Characters of All Time. In 1983, Hauer received a Saturn Award Best Supporting Actor nomination for his performance as Roy Batty by the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films. The character was also selected by Total Film Magazine as the 88th of 100 Greatest Movie Villains.

It's a theme common in sci-fi, artificial intelligence developing desires just like a human. For Roy Batty and his Nexus companions, their desire was more years of life, which ironically is a common desire among humans. Like so many humans, he had little regard for the life of humans.... until the very end.

He didn't give a second thought to ending the life of a human in his quest for his own desires until the rooftop scene when existence was slipping from his own consciousnesses. Hauer's portrayal of Batty was regarded by Philip K. Dick (the author of the novel that the film is loosely based on, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?) as, "the perfect Batty cold, Aryan, flawless".

The Joker - The Dark Knight

"The only sensible way to live in this world is without rules." . . . . . The Joker

I can hear site visitors groaning now, Batman is not sci-fi. Yes . . . it is, more accurately it's a sub-genre of sci-fi. Not to mention the high tech fictional hardware at Batman's disposal. Also, The Dark Knight won a number of sci-fi film awards. The Joker portrayed by Heath Ledger, is ranked number three on Empire Magazine's 100 Greatest Movie Characters of All Time.

In 2009, Ledger posthumously won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance. Ledger also won the Screen Actors Guild Award for Best Supporting Actor, the Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor Motion Picture, and the BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role.

The character was ranked number one in Total Film Magazine's 100 Greatest Movie Villains. Entertainment Weekly put the character on its end-of-the-decade, "best-of" list, saying, "Every great hero needs a great villain. And in 2008, Christian Bale's Batman found his in Heath Ledger's demented dervish, the Joker."

Khan Noonien Singh - Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan

"You are in a position to demand *nothing*. I, on the other hand, am in a position to *grant* nothing." . . . . . Khan

Khan, portrayed by Ricardo Montalban, was selected by Total Film Magazine as the 74th of 100 Greatest Movie Villains. IGN ranked Khan as the best Star Trek villain, noting that "even those with a passing interest in Star Trek know the name". Villains in subsequent Star Trek films have been measured by the standard of Khan.

The Associated Press noted that Star Trek films were measured by how menacing their foe was, and called the character "one of sci-fi's great villains". In 2002, the Online Film Critics Society's 132 members voted Khan as the 10th Greatest Screen Villain of all time, the only Star Trek character to appear in the listing. In 2006, Emmy Magazine voted Khan "TV's Most Out-of-This-World Character", beating out other science-fiction characters such as The Doctor and Commander Adama.

Alex Delarge - A Clockwork Orange

"What we were after now was the old surprise visit. That was a real kick and good for laughs and lashings of the old ultraviolent." . . . . . Alex Delarge

Alex DeLarge, as played by Malcom McDowell, was named the 12th greatest movie villain of all time in the American Film Institute's 100 Years... 100 Heroes & Villains. The character was named the 36th greatest villain in the Wizard Magazine's "100 Greatest Villains of All Time, " and ranked 42nd in Empire Magazine's Greatest Movie Character of All Time.

McDowell's performance has been widely acclaimed by critics. He was nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor Motion Picture Drama and his failure to receive a Best Actor nomination at the Academy Awards is now seen as a major snub.

In 2008, his performance was ranked #100 on Premiere Magazine's "100 Greatest Performances of All Time." Malcom received National Society of Film Critic's 2nd place Best Actor NSFC Award and New York Film Critics Circl'e 3rd place Best Actor NYFCC Award, for his performance in A Clockwork Orange.

Resources: IMDB.com, Wikipedia.org, afi.com

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