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Awards Race: Spider-Verse surges in critics' circles, Black Panther's Ryan Coogler nabs directing honor

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Dec 10, 2018, 4:43 PM EST

As we barrel toward the Oscars and Emmys, there are about a thousand smaller awards that can bolster a favorite movie or TV show's chances, or set them back in the minds of voters with their absence. SYFY WIRE will be helping fans keep track of what's gaining traction, what's earning awards, and what the endgame looks like until all the little golden men are handed out.

As the awards season for films gets further into swing, trends have begun to emerge for those invested in the performance of genre entertainment. Specifically, as the regional critics associations have begun announcing their winners, a few interesting narratives are surfacing — specifically for the superhero films in this year’s race.

First is Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, which just landed the win for Best Animated Film from two different critics' organizations. The Los Angeles Film Critics and New York Film Critics Online both voted for the ambitious, multi-dimensional tale of Miles Morales over offerings from animation houses more seriously established among year-end awards. (Let's not forget that Spider-Verse also nabbed Best Animated Film honors from the New York Film Critics Circle last week.)

Disney and Pixar’s films, Ralph Breaks the Internet and Incredibles 2, have yet to make much of an impact this year in awards circles, as the Spider-Verse’s groundbreaking animated, killer cast, and heartfelt storytelling have kept it at the top of the conversation.

The Los Angeles Film Critics and New York Film Critics Online didn’t recognize much other genre fare, though Hereditary did receive a runner-up vote for Toni Collette in the L.A. critics' Best Actress category and Black Panther came away with the association’s award for production design.

Marvel’s Wakandan record-breaker is also making waves in the director race, as Ryan Coogler will be honored as one of Variety’s 10 directors to watch at the Palm Springs Film Festival. The director made the move from indie film to blockbuster to superhero fare without breaking a sweat, and his accolades continue to grow — even if this is the first significant award of the season that respects his directorial efforts on the Marvel film.

As the awards race continues to add on guild awards and more critics' organizations, perhaps these wins will be influential enough to see superhero films earn more and more critical respect to supplement their box office success.