Superhero movies are a large part of Hollywood, and they have been for most of the 21st century, but they’ve never quite managed to break through at the Academy Awards. Naturally, they’re recognized in a few of the technical categories, but when it comes to the more prominent awards, the highest achievement thus far has been Heath Ledger’s posthumous Best Supporting Actor Oscar for The Dark Knight, a film that was shut out of the Best Director and Best Picture race.
But Hollywood is changing, and more importantly, the Academy is changing. There’s been a huge influx of new members, and it’s possible they might be more open-minded. So perhaps it’s no surprised that Variety is reporting that Warner Bros., a studio that managed to get 10 Oscar nominations and six wins for their summer action movie Mad Max: Fury Road, are aiming to get Wonder Woman into the race.
According to Variety, Warner Bros. is banking on a younger, more diverse Academy to be receptive to an Oscar campaign in favor of getting nominations for Best Picture and Best Director for Patty Jenkins. If Jenkins is nominated, she’ll be the first woman to receive a nomination for Best Director since 2009 when Kathryn Bigelow won the award for The Hurt Locker.
It will be interesting to see how it all shakes out, especially since Warner Bros. isn’t hurting for Oscar contenders. Dunkirk has also been a massive success, and they’ll be pushing that movie as well in the awards season. Additionally, if Blade Runner 2049 is a hit, I can see Warners trying to push that movie as well.
If you think Wonder Woman is a longshot, keep in mind that it’s a huge box office success (it’s the biggest hit of the summer and will likely land in the Top 5 highest-grossing movies of the year), and it’s got a 92% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Additionally, right now the only movie that’s pretty much a lock for a Best Picture nomination is Get Out, a horror film made for $5 million.
The rules of the Oscar game are changing, and Weinstein Company-approved “prestige” pictures aren’t the shoo-ins they once were. While we’ll certainly have a better sense of the Oscar race once festival season kicks into gear, Wonder Woman is a solid bet for Warner Bros., and I’m interested to see their campaign.