Saturday, March 4, 2017

Is Logan An Oscar Contender?

We are six days out from the last Oscars, and it never fails that immediately folks began to wonder about the next year. I promise to soon start my first predictions for next year, and this Spring we have a lot to look for including the Daytime Emmys, the MTV Movie Awards, the Tonys, and of course Emmy season, which I am starting to love almost as much as the Oscars, begins before we know it. March is here, and we are going to start to see early Oscar buzz for some of the Spring contenders. Early Beauty and the Beast reviews are mixed, but my guess is that Visual Effects, Costume Design, and Production Design nominations feel like safe bets right now. But the real contender so far is not Beauty and the Beast, it is Logan, the R-Rated, western, post-apocalyptic, Mad Max-esque final chapter in the Wolverine saga. I love most of the X-Men movies (okay like 2/3 of the X-Men movies), and when they are done well, they are entertaining, and in some cases (X2 for example), can be incredibly emotionally satisfying. But it looks like, in Wolverine's final outing, the folks who brought this franchise to the silver screen have finally made their modern comic book masterpiece. The reviews are stellar, the R-rating and stripped down look has finally given the filmmakers here a chance to really explore Logan, not Wolverine, but Logan. We know that comic book movies have had a rough time at the Oscars. After The Dark Knight managed a whopping eight nominations, and 2 wins, but not a Best Picture or Best Director nomination, the Academy expanded the Best Picture field to be more inclusive of bigger films. So far, a lot of big films have made the Best Picture cut including Avatar, Up, Toy Story 3, Inception, The Help, Gravity, American Sniper, Mad Max: Fury Road, The Martian, and Hidden Figures. Many of these films would not have made the cut in a year of five, and personally, I think this is enough proof that the Academy should keep its expanded Best Picture set up. Despite those successes, no comic book movie has managed to get a nomination. To be fair, with maybe the exception of Deadpool this year, most of them did not deserve it. But with Logan, the spiritual successor of The Dark Knight, the question will once again be revived: Can a film based on a comic book actually get a Best Picture nomination? I think that one of the positives of the expanded Academy membership is that a younger, more diverse voter base can lead to different choices. While Moonlight is on a much larger scale, it's surprise Best Picture win is proof that the Academy is not the same as it used to be. In the end, the answer is probably no. But if Logan, at the end of the year, ends up being one of the best, I'm hoping that Oscar voters let go of their pretensions, the way they did with Mad Max, and recognize brilliance, no matter the source.

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