Did ‘The Karate Kid’ Movies Ever Win Any Awards?

An Academy Award

Getty An Academy Award statue.

“The Karate Kid” was so popular among audiences when it first came out in 1984 that it went on to spawn three sequels, a 2010 remake, and “Cobra Kai,” a spinoff series starring the two teenage leads, now back as adults. The success of the film, which raked in over $130 million at the box office, and its subsequent projects naturally led to a number of awards headed their way. So, how many times were “The Karate Kid” and “Cobra Kai” nominated for awards? Well, the answer might be: a lot more than you’d think.

Here’s what you need to know.


‘The Karate Kid’ Led to an Unexpected Academy Award Nomination

Pat Morita at 1985 Academy Awards.

YouTubePat Morita at the 57th Academy Awards.

In 1985, a year after the release of “The Karate Kid,” the Associated Press wrote an article about the film in preparation for its sequel – “Part II” – in which it labeled “The Karate Kid” “Hollywood’s biggest sleeper of 1984.” It went on to say that the film’s success “surprised almost everyone by amassing a domestic gross of $100 million. That’s phenomenal for a modest film with no stars and a title that sounded like a combination of Bruce Lee and a kidflick.”

Considering the shock effect that “The Karate Kid” had on the industry, Pat Morita likely wasn’t expecting both Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations (both for Best Actor in a Supporting Role) when he signed on for the role. In addition, the film itself and Elisabeth Shue (for her performance as Daniel’s girlfriend Ali Mills) both won Young Artist Awards for Best Family Motion Picture – Drama, and Best Young Supporting Actress, respectively. In addition, William Zabka (who portrayed bully Johnny Lawrence) was nominated for Best Young Supporting Actor, but lost to Jonathan Ke Quan for his performance in “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.” Zabka was 18 during the film’s production, and Shue was 20. Ralph Macchio, who turned 22 near the beginning of production, was too old to be eligible for any Young Artist Award.

“The Karate Kid Part II,” although it also grossed $115 million in the box office, as per Box Office Mojo, was naturally much more low key than its predecessor, and received much more mixed reviews. The only major award or nomination “Part II” received was a “Best Original Song” Academy Award nomination for Peter Cetera, David Foster, and Diane Nini, for their song “Glory of Love,” which was featured in the film.

“The Karate Kid Part III,” which was fairly poorly received by fans and critics, especially in comparison to its two forerunners, did not go on to receive any prestigious awards or nominations. It did, however, receive five nominations at the 1990 Golden Raspberry Awards, for Worst Picture, Worst Screenplay, Worst Director, Worst Actor (for Macchio), and Worst Supporting Actor (for Morita). It did not win any.


“Cobra Kai” Has Seen a Revival In the Franchise’s Awards and Nominations

"Cobra Kai" cast

GettyThe teenage cast of “Cobra Kai” attend a screening for the premiere of season 2 in 2019.

Netflix’s “Cobra Kai,” which has been much better received than the later “Karate Kid” films, has gone on to receive a number of awards, including several People’s Choice Awards which are still pending.

Some of “Cobra Kai’s” most notable awards include several Creative Arts Emmy nominations, and a Primetime Emmy nomination for Outstanding Comedy Series earlier this year, for its third season. It has also received a number of Teen Choice Awards nominations, including for “Choice Summer Show” for its first two seasons, and was nominated in the first ever Hollywood Critics Association TV Awards for “Best Streaming Series, Comedy” – also for its third season – earlier this year.

In the end, “The Karate Kid” and “Cobra Kai” were nominated for quite a few awards, though when it came to the win, they were mostly edged out by other films and shows. As of now, voting for the 2021 People’s Choice Awards is closed. But be sure to tune into NBC and E! on Tuesday, December 7 to see whether “Cobra Kai” will take home any of the three awards they’ve been nominated for this year.

Season 4 of “Cobra Kai” will be released on Netflix December 31.


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