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Can ‘Wonder Woman’ Win Best Picture?

Oscar season heats up around Labor Day, but every summer we ponder whether any contenders have already crept through multiplexes.If Warner Bros. gets its way, theres a heavy hitter in theaters as we speak.

Variety reported on Thursday that the studio is plotting a formidable awards campaign for Wonder Woman, aiming to secure the first-ever Best Picture and Best Director nominations for a comic-book movie. Warner Bros.will continue to screen Woman for Academy voters,hoping to capitalize on the organizationsyounger, more diverse new membership.

Speculating on the Oscar roster in July is a fools errand, but Varietys report begs intriguing questions. Awards bodies dont gravitate toward blockbusters, particularly ones of the superhero variety, as proven when the Oscars expanded Best Picture from five slots to a maximum 10 after The Dark Knight was shut out in 2009.Can Wonder Woman, which outpaced financial expectations and stoked feminist energy in the midst of Donald Trumps presidency, manage what Christopher Nolans Batman sequel couldnt? Lets take a look.

Of the movies that have opened so far this year, only two others have incited serious Oscar chatter. First, theres Jordan Peeles sleeper hit Get Out, a February joint that became one of the years best-reviewed releases.Two strikes against it:No horror movie has earned a Best Picture nod since The Silence of the Lambs in 1991, and this one faces the tough task of maintaining buzz nearly a year after hitting theaters. The second contender is another Warner Bros. release: Dunkirk, which is a more conventional Oscar flick thanks to its prestige director (Nolan) and arresting subject matter(World War II).

Its unlikely Get Out will get in, but Dunkirk could very well snag slots in Best Picture and Best Director (it would be Nolans first in the latter).

Lets assume Dunkirk is a done deal. That leaves nine potential slots in a year loaded with heavy-hitting auteurs:Steven Spielbergs The Papers, Paul Thomas Andersons untitled Daniel Day-Lewis fashion movie, Kathryn Bigelows Detroit, Darren Aronofskys Mother!, Ridley Scotts Blade Runner 2049, George Clooneys Suburbicon, Alexander Paynes Downsizing,Martin McDonaghs Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, Joe Wrights Darkest Hour, Garth Davis Mary Magdalene, Luca Guadagninos festival hit Call Me By Your Name, James Francos The Disaster Artist, Alfonso Gomez-Rejons The Current War, Todd Haynes Wonderstruck, Aaron Sorkins Mollys Game and Michael Graceys The Greatest Showman.

Notice anything in common about most of those names? As usual, theres a lot of sausage in the kitchen. That could work to the advantage of Wonder Woman maestro Patty Jenkins, who would be only the fifth female nominated for Best Director in the Academy Awards 90-year history.Warner Bros. will know to play up that angle, especially if Jenkins signs on to helm the already green-lit sequel. The Academys recent push to diversify its demographics in the wake of two consecutive years of all-white acting nominees could mean that more people inclined to appreciate a feminist superhero hit will have ballots in their hands come January.

Still, the precedent is stacked against this movies favor, and Id be cautious when placing bets on Diana Princes awards odds. With the exception of Mad Max: Fury Road, the Oscars Best Picture expansion hasnt helped any live-action summer blockbusters. Hollywood is drowning in franchises and reboots, calling into question whether a superhero adaptation can rise above the glut. Furthermore, while Wonder Woman could score key tech nods, its unlikely that any of its actors will be recognized. Its rare though not impossible (see: Slumdog Millionaire, Braveheart) for a movie without any acting nominations to go all the way.

A Wonder Woman victory would come down to two things: the power of Warner Bros. campaign, and the quality of this years typical awards fare, which wont screen for press and industry folks until the fall festivals (or later). Warner Bros. will have a hefty load, simultaneously touting Woman, Dunkirk and Blade Runner 2049. Plus, if the years final superhero tentpole, Novembers Justice League, doesnt find critical and commercial success, the Academy may opt not to boost a superhero outing of any kind.

The entire narrative surrounding Wonder Woman hinges on its outsize success, which will continue to balloon as the movie remains in theaters. Now its up to Warner Bros. to keep the momentum alive. As Diana Prince once said, Its about what you believe.

Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/wonder-woman-oscar-campaign_us_597b8633e4b02a8434b65a8e

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