Well, that wasn’t supposed to happen.
When the Writers Guild of America announced their annual nominations today if there was going to be a superhero movie among the adapted screenplay nominees Wonder Woman was going to be it. Many of the awards experts had predicted as much. Instead, the nomination went to Logan and its three co-writers, Scott Frank, James Mangold, and Michael Green. Logan is the superhero movie that was hailed back in March as being the best piece of work in the genre since The Dark Knight and then went promptly forgotten by the time the Golden Globes and Screen Actors Guild nominations rolled around. Time had clearly marched on and major awards glory was simply not in the cards.
That changed today.
Or did it? I mean, what does this actually mean for the Oscars?
Short answer: maybe nothing. More traditional Oscar fare like Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool and Victoria & Abdul were ineligible for WGA, which has a far more stringent set of rules than the Academy. Plus, any one of those actually eligible films (Wonder Woman, All the Money in the World, Wonder) which Logan beat out for the nomination could return the favor with the Oscars. It’s happened multiple times before, resulting in movies like 12 Years a Slave and Birdman taking home Best Screenplay Oscars despite being snubbed or deemed ineligible by WGA.
Long answer: Logan does have three Critics Choice Award nominations (Best Action Movie, Best Supporting Actor for Patrick Stewart, Best Young Performer for Dafnee Keen). It’s also been nominated by several other critics associations and was listed in the National Board of Review’s picks for 10 best films of the year. Problem is, critics can shape opinion but do not have a direct say on the Oscars since the Academy is almost entirely made up of people who actually make movies, not simply write about them. Plus, NBR rarely sees eye to eye with the Academy on everything, meaning an NBR nomination or award has little predictive value, unlike, say, a Producers Guild nomination.
So anything else Logan has received to this point has been meaningless as it pertains to the Oscars. But this WGA nod – that was voted on by the same people who are currently casting their votes for the Oscars. Yes, the WGA nominations always deviate just a little from the Academy’s, but for Logan to have snuck in like this at least gives us legitimate hope. In the immortal words of Jim Carrey:
For a screenplay nomination, anyway. Anything else remains a pipe dream, although I would so love to have to eat my words if the Academy somehow nominates Patrick Stewart for Best Supporting Actor.
You know, The Dark Knight got a WGA nomination too, but then it was snubbed by the Oscars.
Man, why you wanna bring me down?
Not only that but since Heath Ledger’s posthumous Best Supporting Actor win no comic book movie has been nominated for even a single above-the-line Oscar.
Sure, but it’s not exactly like there has been anything truly Oscar-worthy until Logan and maybe also Wonder Woman, which remains a dark horse candidate for Best Director.
Still, historically speaking, the Academy just doesn’t like anything that began its life in a comic book. Sets a bad precedent for them, I guess.
Fine. I didn’t say Logan now has a great chance, but it definitely has a chance, all thanks to the WGA.