Warner Bros. is planning a big Oscar push for Wonder Woman this year. While no plans are official, the blockbuster film that is nearing $1 billion at the worldwide box office is easily the biggest film of the year.
It is about time that studios start to recognize that superhero and genre films can be worthy of Best Picture nominations. Wonder Woman was a great film. Personally, I don't think it was the best picture of the year (as of right now, Dunkirk is at the top of my list), and I can't help but wonder if a lot of my love for Wonder Woman has to do with how utterly atrocious the other DC films have been.
But genre pictures have been ignored for too long. The Dark Knight should have been nominated for Best Picture in 2008. Largely because of that oversight, the next year the Academy expanded the Best Picture category from five to 10 nominees. This helped open the category for a wider range of Best Picture nominees, like Mad Max: Fury Road and The Martian in 2015.
I think Wonder Woman has a good shot at a nomination. Most of the "awards season" films won't be released for a few more months, so that could change. But box-office success has often translated to nominations. How else can you explain the nomination for Avatar? It looked pretty but had the worst script of the year. I also think Patty Jenkins has a good shot at a Best Director nomination. Action films are hard to shoot, and to do it well is a minor miracle. Plus, ever since Kathryn Bigelow was the first (and only) woman to win Best Director for The Hurt Locker in 2009, I sense the Academy is itching to get another woman up there.
The Academy has made great strides in expanding the diversity of its voting members. But it will still take another decade or so for it to be truly diverse. As it stands, the Academy is still made up of white, older males. The older generation is not ready to see a genre picture win. If they were, Mad Max: Fury Road would have scooped up the Oscar, because that movie was an absolutely achievement.
Just because superhero movies have gotten a lot better since the days of, say, Batman & Robin doesn't mean that every year a superhero movie has to be nominated, nor do I think they will be. To me, a Best Picture has to "say something." Wonder Woman has a great message about female empowerment, about women not needing men to be strong and powerful and confident. And that is why I think it, at the very least, deserves a nod. What do you think?