‘Wonder Woman’ is the highest-grossing movie of the summer and second-highest of the year and also has the distinction of being the highest-grossing movie ever by a female director, Patty Jenkins. But could Diana and her powerful bracelets shatter yet another barrier?
Warner Bros. hopes so. Though no official announcement has been made, reportedly the studio is preparing to launch a massive campaign to get Jenkins nominated for the Academy Award for Best Director and ‘Wonder Woman’ for Best Picture. It’s not a cheap endeavor. In order to woo voters (who are all industry insiders, not the general public), WB will have to cough up for private screenings, watermarked DVDs, lots of advertisements in industry publications as well as arranging meetings between the talent behind the film and voters.
Does it have a shot? Just maybe. Because not only was ‘Wonder Woman’ a huge hit with the average moviegoer, but it was heavily praised by critics as well, sitting pretty with a 92% freshness rating on Rotten Tomatoes. It is without a doubt, one of the best received super hero movies in years.
As for Jenkins’ directing… you gotta admit that’s one lush, beautiful film. If she gets the nomination, it will be a major step for comic book movies. Not even Christopher Nolan was recognized for his work on the ‘Dark Knight’ trilogy and many consider those among the best super hero movies ever.
It’s not as though genre films never get nominated or even win the big awards. All three ‘Lord of the Rings’ movies were nominated for Best Picture and ‘The Return of the King’ won the top honor in 2003. ‘The Martian’, ‘Gravity’ and ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ have also been recognized with nominations. And of course, in 2008, Heath Ledger won a posthumous award for Best Supporting Actor for his role as The Joker in ‘The Dark Knight’, the biggest award a comic book movie has ever earned.
But part of the problem is that the Academy voters have been traditionally white and rapidly aging, continuing to heap praises on stuffy dramas that don’t appeal to most moviegoers. But the Academy recently opened up its membership to 774 new younger and more diverse voters– including ‘Wonder Woman’ stars Gal Gadot and Elena Anaya as well as Margot Robbie a.k.a. Harley Quinn in ‘Suicide Squad’ who would surely support her DC sister, right?
Voters, however, can only vote in their respective fields. So while, several actors, including superheroes/villains Chris Evans (‘Captain America’), Fan Bingbing (‘X-Men: Days of Future Past’), Donald Glover (‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’), Chris Pratt (‘Guardians of the Galaxy’), Aaron Taylor-Johnson (‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’) and Ming Na-Wen (‘Agents of SHIELD’) have been invited to vote, they can only vote in the acting categories and it doesn’t appear that WB is pushing the ‘Wonder Woman’ cast. BUT they can vote for Best Picture, so these spandex titans may be able to swing things for ‘Wonder Woman’ out of solidarity.
On the other hand, directors David Ayer (‘Suicide Squad’) and Joseph and Anthony Russo (‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’, ‘Captain America: Civil War’ and the upcoming ‘Avengers: Infinity War’) have also been invited to vote and they may also able to swing things in Patty Jenkins’ direction.
Say what you will, though Marvel Studios/Disney and Warner Bros. are rival studios, a victory like this would smash open the doors and give comic book movies an unprecedented respectability that could give future CBMs a shot at higher accolades.
Could this influx of younger, more diverse voters drag the stodgy Oscars more in line with popular tastes?
There are two foes ‘Wonder Woman’ will have to conquer and one is Warner Bros.’ OTHER Awards hopeful, ‘Dunkirk’. Will the studio favor that more traditional awards-bait over the longshot that is ‘Wonder Woman’?
The other is… *sigh* ‘Justice League’, directed by Zack Snyder, the man behind the maligned ‘Batman V Superman’, although the pic has since been taken over by Joss Whedon. Whedon earned fan love for the first ‘Avengers’, but his second, ‘Age of Ultron’ got a much more mixed reaction. If ‘Justice League’ turns out to be a hot mess, it could crush any hopes of ‘Wonder Woman’ getting any Oscar respect.
What do you think? Are Patty Jenkins and ‘Wonder Woman’ Oscar worthy?