JJ Abrams directing Mark Hamill in a pivotal scene from 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens.' JJ Abrams directing Mark Hamill in a pivotal scene from 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens.' JJ Abrams directing Mark Hamill in a pivotal scene from 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens.' (Photo: Lucasfilm)

Famous director makes first Oscar prediction for 2018

J.J. Abrams is already waging on next year's winner. And the force is strong with this one.

With "La La Land" walking away with many (albeit not all) awards at last night's 89th annual Academy Awards, Hollywood insiders are already looking ahead – way ahead. With none of next year's contenders even released yet, director J.J. Abrams – the mastermind behind the TV show "Lost" and several blockbuster movies including both "Star Wars" and "Star Trek" – is already placing his bet.

He told reporters this weekend that Mark Hamill, who plays the iconic Luke Skywalker in the Star Wars franchise, should win an Oscar for his role in the upcoming "The Last Jedi."

(From left): Actor Mark Hamill, director Rian Johnson, Prince Harry, Prince William, actor John Boyega, producer Ram Bergman, Chewbacca, actress Daisy Ridley and producer Kathleen Kennedy during a tour of the Star Wars sets in England.(From left): Actor Mark Hamill, director Rian Johnson, Prince Harry, Prince William, actor John Boyega, producer Ram Bergman, Chewbacca, actress Daisy Ridley and producer Kathleen Kennedy during a tour of the Star Wars sets in England. (Photo: Adrian Dennis/Getty Images)

“I think we are all going to be very upset if he does not win an Oscar, and no one more upset than Mark,” said Abrams, who directed Hamill in a short, but pivotal, scene in 2015's "The Force Awakens." Abrams continued: “Actually, he’s very funny. I always think frankly that he has been a little bit underrated. Look what he had to do to bring 3PO and R2-D2 to life in a way. His work was always incredible and there he was in that, sadly, short scene at the end of 'The Force Awakens' and he had to convey a whole lot with no dialogue, so it’s a lot harder in a way than you might think. He is a terrific actor and I can’t wait for everyone to see what he finally does say.”

Anticipation for "The Last Jedi" – helmed by American director Rian Johnson and his longtime friend Ram Bergman, a prolific Israeli producer – has been steadily picking up steam. In recent weeks, British star Daisy Ridley has been the subject of several viral videos where her celebrity friends try to pry some plot details out of her to little avail.

The movie's first official trailer is expected to be released in April at the official Star Wars Celebration event in Orlando. The film is set to be released on Dec. 15, 2017. And set your DVR: next year's Oscar ceremony will air on March 4, 2018. If Abrams has his way, Hamill will be in attendance.

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