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Will a Superhero Movie Ever Win an Oscar?

aka Will a Superhero Movie Ever Win (another) (non-technical) Oscar?

The Superhero Movie has never really been thought of as Oscar material, it’s simple, light material without any depth or expert filmmaking involved. It’s easy to poke fun at a superhero movie because there are so many that win Razzies rather than Oscars, like Catwoman. But filmmakers like Christopher Nolan and Bryan Singer can elevate typical superhero fare to something much more great. In fact, The Incredibles is the only superhero movie to win an award, but in the smaller animated category, Christopher Nolan is the only one out there that brought a non-technical win for Heath Ledger as the Joker in the Dark Knight in a live action movie, though several years earlier Warren Beatty brought on a nomination for Al Pacino in his comic strip adaptation of Dick Tracy.


Incredible Oscar
It’s easy to call out the Academy and their elderly members, the average age of an Oscar voting member is 62. And yet, there have been popular sci-fi or fantasy movies that make it into the Best Picture finalists. The original Star Wars was nominated, so was Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark. All three Lord of the Rings movies were nominated, and Return of the King won. Of course these movies make up a very tiny percentage of the overall Best Picture nominees. Even as the academy opened up the nominees for Best Picture above 5 movies, there has only been Avatar and District 9 as popular sci-fi movies nominated for Best Picture.

So what does the future hold? There’s no question at all that superhero movies are becoming more prolific. I mean all you have to do is check out my list of superhero movies sorted by date to see that in the 80’s and 90’s there are only one to six movies each year, and when you get to the 2010’s there’s over a dozen movies out each year. Not only that, but the quality for some of the best ones are getting better and better. Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy has been acclaimed all over the place as three great pieces of filmmaking, especially for the Dark Knight. But this year, Joss Whedon was also hailed both at the box office and by critics with his masterful work on the Avengers, and even with this being a pretty great year for superhero movies with The Avengers, The Dark Knight Rises, and the Amazing Spider-Man the only one that even got a technical nomination was the Avengers for Best Special Effects.

There’s little denying it, I’m much more of a popular movie watcher. In this year’s Oscars I’ve only seen Les Mis out of the big categories, though I am somewhat interested in watching Argo, Django Unchained, and Silver Linings Playbook at some point in time. I did watch and enjoy all of the nominated short films and even wrote a post for it at the Lamb. But for the most part I’m not interested in the ceremony, the awards, or anything else, what I find more interesting is reading how other people react to it, it is one of the most popular movie awards out there, and since I follow a lot of movie sites now, that’s what everyone is talking about right now so I just had to join in, at least in my own way. Until next time, this has been Bubbawheat for Flights, Tights, and Movie Nights.

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About Bubbawheat

I'm a comic book movie enthusiast who has watched and reviewed over 300 superhero and comic book movies in the past four years, my goal is to continue to find and watch and review every superhero movie ever made.

Posted on February 24, 2013, in Blogs and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. They will never win an Oscar, too much fun. To win an Oscar it has to be about an old couple dying in a hotel room. Can’t wait to watch that 😀

  2. A cross between “Citizen Kane” and “Interview with the Vampire” but with superhero-dom? Hell yeah! I think that could make a very gripping film about what it means to be a hero without necessarily being a deconstruction.

    • There’s so many original ideas based around superheroes that haven’t been tapped yet. I think the next few years could easily bring about some new ideas based around superheroes. Curious about the next Captain America being described as a “political thriller”.

  3. It’s not impossible; after all, The Lord of the Rings won Best Picture on its third outing, and so did Gladiator. Both had a certain degree of gravitas beyond their genre, but both are genre films first and foremost.

    Still, I don’t think we’ll see a superhero movie win Best Picture for a long time. For one thing, very few superhero movies have ever deserved to be in the discussion. The Dark Knight. Perhaps the original Superman, and maybe Batman Begins. That’s about it. Even among the good superhero movies, they’re mostly along the lines of The Dark Knight Rises and The Avengers — they’re good superhero movies, but they don’t transcend that point. They’re simply good. They’re not great, except in the more limited context.

    But a few more acting awards may work their way in before we finally get the Truly Best Picture Superhero Film.

  1. Pingback: The Large Association of Movie Blogs | Oscar Chops

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