Academy Awards considering 'Wonder Woman' for Best Picture
Warner Bros has launched a campaign to garner 'Wonder Woman' 15 nominations including Best Picture, which would make it the first superhero movie to do so.
The Wonder Woman film, which received rave reviews from us and the rest of the world, broke a lot of records (and a glass ceiling or two) this summer. It had the highest box office debut of all time for a female director. It became the third-biggest Warner Bros. release of all time in North America — even more than the final Harry Potter film.
Warner Bros. is also hosting a special screening of the movie tonight with the influential Directors Guild of America. Patty Jenkins, who the studio is also getting behind for a Best Director nomination, will be on hand for a Q&A after the screening. If Jenkins were to win, the award would be groundbreaking. No director of a comic-book film — not even Christopher Nolan for his acclaimed Batman movies — has ever been nominated.
And from now until Christmas, when the Oscar nomination process starts to heat up, Warner Bros. will be hosting multiple screenings for Academy voters.
There was an indication earlier this year that the studio would go this route. In the summer, shortly after the film's initial release, there was a special showing of the movie at the Beverly Hills offices of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences. Hundreds of Oscar voters were in attendance.
After the screening, there was near universal praise for the movie – especially for Gadot. "If the film stopped the moment Gal Gadot made her stunning entrance, I'd give it five stars and go home happy," said one industry insider at the event. "She's incredibly beautiful and, more importantly, quite a good actress."
One critic from the Los Angeles Times loved the female empowerment message of the movie so much, she actually left the theater weeping for joy and with tears in her eyes.
While the Best Picture nominees are chosen from all movies released in 2017, most of the films that do get picked arrive in theaters during what's known as "Oscar season" – October through December. That's when prestige movies like "La La Land" and "Jackie" arrived in theaters last year. A movie that comes out in the summer needs to sustain momentum and the interest of Academy voters, who won't actually be choosing this year's nominees until the second week of January 2018. But it's not unheard of for a summer movie to gain a spot. Best Picture winners "Gladiator," "Crash" and "The Hurt Locker" are all examples of films that came out in the summer months.
Aside from the summer opening, another challenge for "Wonder Woman" is that a superhero movie has never won an Oscar for Best Picture. (A posthumous Best Supporting Actor win for Heath Ledger's role as the Joker in "The Dark Knight" was the closest in the top award categories.) Most of the time, they instead receive technical awards like Best Visual Effects ("Superman," 1979) or Best Art Direction ("Batman," 1989). Even last year's critically acclaimed box office smash "Deadpool" didn't pick up a Best Picture nod.
Animated superheroes tend to fare a little better. In 2004, Pixar's "The Incredibles" won the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature as did Disney's "Big Hero 6" in 2014.
But "Wonder Woman" seems to have the wind in its sails. It has a virtually unheard-of 92% positive rating on the movie ranking site Rotten Tomatoes, with their critical consensus being that the film is "Thrilling, earnest, and buoyed by Gal Gadot's charismatic performance. Wonder Woman succeeds in spectacular fashion."
In recent years, the Academy has expanded the number of movies that can be nominated for Best Picture in the hopes of lassoing in more fun blockbusters as opposed to merely serious dramas. That usually brings more celebrities – and viewers – to the evening's festivities.
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