In a few weeks we will find out the Oscar nominations, and a lot of discussion has been around the way the Academy views superhero films, and if they are worthy of a Best Picture Oscar nomination. With 2014 being one of the best years for superhero movies, let’s discuss whether any of the 2014 superhero movies will get a Best Picture Oscar nomination.
The Oscars have very slowly been evolving when it comes to superhero movies. Heath Ledger won an Oscar for The Dark Knight, but ever since then there hasn’t been much superhero love at the Oscars.
You can usually tell which movies will get nominated for a best picture Oscar. These films typically have many things in common. They are dramatic, show an individual/s liberating against all odds, make some kind of comment on the state of society and all it’s problems and has a valuable message. Normally they are serious films. The past few years has seen films like 12 Years of Slave, Argo and The King’s Speech win Best Picture. However it’s not enough to just be a good movie to get a Best Picture nomination, there’s also a lot of politics involved.
Right now studios are marketing their films to get a Best Picture nomination. Even Paramount is having a try, by pushing Transformers 4! They must be trolling if they think anyone in their right mind would nominate Transformers 4 for a Best Picture Oscar. Anyways with all this Oscar talk, the question has been, can any of this year’s superhero movies get a Best Picture nomination? And the simple answer is probably not. Mainly because as I said of all the politics that is involved in the Oscars.
For me when it comes to films that get nominated for best picture, there needs to be something truly inspiring or ground-breaking about them. Whether that is from visual feats like Avatar or Gravity, or from the core message about humanity they are trying to present like in 12 Years of Slave.
A front runner in this year’s Oscars is Boyhood. Boyhood was groundbreaking in that it was filmed over 12 years, and showed this one boy growing up. It was a simple plot, but Richard Linklater captured something truly remarkable in the way that our perspectives and attitudes change as we grow older and experience more in life.
Another front runner is The Imitation Game, an inspiring story about a man who helps crack Germany’s enigma code during WWII but then is later devastatingly prosecuted because of his homosexuality. A contextually important film that reflects the current criticisms of society.
Really a case can be made for most of the superhero movies from this year to get an Oscar nomination. Captain America was a spy thriller that brought forward questions of the true meaning of freedom. Guardians of the Galaxy was a space opera that gave us some of the best characters of the year. X-Men Days of Future Past had an amazing cast of fantastic performances that discussed issues of discrimination in society.
But this is where the politics of the situation comes out. I don’t want to say the Oscar voters are snobby. I don’t know who they are in person, they could be very cool people (maybe), but at the end of the day you know they will give a film like The Theory of Everything or Selma preference over a superhero movie. Because superhero movies are still seen as nothing but Summer blockbuster popcorn movies, that are just there for a bit of cheap entertainment, but that’s it, they have nothing more to really say. Just silly fun with a bunch of dudes and chicks running around in costumes.
Personally I don’t think any of this year’s superhero movies deserve to win the Best Picture category at the Oscars. I have yet to see all of the Oscar front running movies, and because of that I can’t tell you whether a superhero movie should get a nomination, not until I actually view all of those films. But I think that superhero movies should at least get some serious consideration. It’s not fair to just write them off because it’s a superhero movie.
But again the politics will always get in the way. Studios typically invest in films thinking they will be Oscar contenders. So they release it around the December period, they try to get already acclaimed actors and directors, and they specifically market it towards Oscar voters. Marvel probably knows they won’t ever win a best picture award, so they aren’t going to bother wasting their money on creating ‘for you consideration’ ads to voters (gotta save that cash to pay RDJ).
And if any of the superhero movies deserve a nomination for best picture I would have to give that to Winter Soldier or Days of Future Past. Don’t get me wrong, Guardians of the Galaxy was great, but it just didn’t have the thought provoking themes the Oscars love so much. And I feel that the ‘villain’ figure is important in film as well, and felt Guardians was lacking in that department. Freedom, and issues of civil liberties and discrimination, which is what Winter Soldier and Days of Future Past explored, are the stuff the Academy loves.
“It’s a real movie, real filmmaking, and it has really high aspirations, in terms of what cinema can be and what it can do, and what our experience of it is. It has every intention on the part of the filmmakers to reach audiences on the deepest level. It’s fascinating, very interesting, very enigmatic how it all works, the Academy” – Anthony Russo (Director of Winter Soldier).
Anyways what do you think? Do you think any of this year’s superhero movies deserve a Best Picture Oscar nomination? Which ones and why? Let me know!
Categories: comic book movies