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Warner Planning Historic Oscars Campaign for WONDER WOMAN and Patty Jenkins

Warner Planning Historic Oscars Campaign for WONDER WOMAN and Patty Jenkins

Variety is reporting that, on the heels of the historic box office success of comic book movie Wonder Woman, Warner Bros. is ready to put the power of the all mighty dollar behind a strong awards season campaign for the film, in hopes of landing it an unprecedented Best Picture nomination, as well as a Best Director nod for its helmer, Patty Jenkins.

Although Warner apparently declined to comment, it seems logical that the studio will try its luck at least as the awards season remains wide open (to be fair, it hasn’t really begun).

The Oscars, of course, have been male-dominated for decades, which is ironic given that the comic book film genre is also male driven. How delicious then, if the film to help break that anti-genre bias were a film made by a woman. Moreover, nominations for women in the Best Director category remain elusive. Yes, Kathryn Bigelow won a Best Directing Oscar in 2009, but since then not a single woman has received a nomination. So it would be doubly ironic if the next one to land one did so for directing Wonder Woman.

Comic book films have never done well with snotty awards bodies, with only  Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight getting any traction but ultimately falling short of a Best Picture nomination. That, of course, famously precipitated the Academy to expand the field in order, purportedly, to construct a bigger tent.

And while fantasy and sci-fi films have pushed through to the final round since then (Gravity, Mad Max, Inception, District 9, all come to mind) the directing nods have been elusive (certainly for women) and the final win impossible.

So what do I think Warner’s chances are for Wonder Woman? Not to be too pessimistic, but not good from the outset. First, Warner will have to convince snotty critics (ahem!) to recognize the film in the many precursor awards we hand out, and that won’t be an easy task. I have a hard time imagining the film getting a SAG Ensemble nomination or even a Golden Globes nod. Its best precursors chances are with the Producers Guild, but even Deadpool made it there only to receive a big fat goose egg from the Academy.

The bottom line is that it’s hard to tell right now because most Oscar bait movies have not been screened, so we don’t know how stiff the competition will be. We know they’ll be resistant even though recent membership expansions may help them open their minds a bit. And we KNOW that Academy honchos such as the perspicacious Cheryl Boone Isaacs, as much as they’d probably poo poo comic book films in public, would LOVE the ratings boost that a nomination for a comic book product would give their telecast.

So here’s hoping. Oh, and speaking of Inception, Warners did say that it would have a campaign for its other summer hit Dunkirk, a movie I expect will have an easier time sailing through.

What do you think, can Wonder Woman get an Oscar Nomination?  Sound off below.

About The Author

J. Don Birnam

J. Don Birnam, a voting member of the New York Film Critics Online, has been a movie lover since he saw the first Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film in theaters at a tender age, and has been a devoted student of American film history every since. His favorite films range from Back to the Future to West Side Story, depending on the time of day, and has a mildly unhealthy obsessions with the Academy Awards. Any similarity with the slightly unstable writer in the seminal 1944 film ‘The Lost Weekend’ is pure coincidence

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