We haven’t had a real discussion about superhero movies as art since 2008’s The Dark Knight was infamously snubbed for Oscar nominations in almost all categories. Two key releases from 2017 – Wonder Woman and Logan – have more than made a case for that conversation to start again. And it most definitely will, because Warner Bros. is reportedly planning an Oscar campaign for Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman in most major categories, including Best Picture and Best Director.
Wonder Woman nominations would be groundbreaking on just about every level. It’d be the first superhero movie to be nominated for the Best Picture and Director categories and would be the first nomination for a female director since Kathryn Bigelow won in 2010 for The Hurt Locker. The campaign would also be a huge financial investment for the company, which has had a surprisingly good year after 2016’s DC releases underperformed both critically and financially.
The other issue with launching this campaign is the possibility that, even if voters are open to nominating a superhero movie for Best Picture, they’d only be open to choosing one, essentially splitting the votes between Wonder Woman and Logan, another superhero flick that’s equally deserving of attention during this upcoming awards season. That said, voters might be willing to compromise by voting to give Hugh Jackman an acting nomination, making room for Wonder Woman to be nominated in other major categories.
The Academy is notoriously tone-deaf when it comes to nominating films that reflect what popular movies actually deserve awards every year, and there are countless times when they’ve gone the safe route, choosing films that are tailor-made for Oscar attention, while other, better films go unnoticed. That changed last year when Barry Jenkins’ Moonlight, an art house hit that was hailed as one of the decade’s best films, ended up actually winning Best Picture last year.
Any other year, I’d say Wonder Woman‘s chances were slim to none, but the cultural attitude towards superhero movies is definitely shifting, and there’s no reason why the film wouldn’t at least be in the running for a handful of nominations, especially in technical categories. Regardless, the film was a phenomenon this year, and a nomination would really only function as an acknowledgment of the impact this movie has had since its release.
Images: DC Films, Warner Bros.