There’s a good bet that Logan might be the first comic book superhero movie to receive genuine Oscar attention.
At least, that’s what Twentieth Century Fox is hoping. Long in advance of the voting window for Academy Award nominations, the studio is starting the ball rolling on a huge media “For Your Consideration” push to get Logan some attention from bigwigs within the film industry.
We’re currently at the point of the season where most of the year’s big Oscarbait movies haven’t even been released yet (they typically come out in fall to winter when they’re most likely to stick in voters’ minds), but already, Fox is starting a push for Logan to earn some nominations.
This involves ads, free DVDs for voters, special screenings with champagne or other fancy free stuff, and a general attempt to schmooze the movie into the hearts and minds of people who could help it earn a nomination.
Such practices are commonplace in the movie industry – Oscar winners almost always enjoy a marketing campaign that’s every bit as elaborate as the ones thrown for a film’s initial theatrical launch, because there’s a lot of money and prestige associated with a solid Academy Award win.
What’s unusual is how early Fox is starting with this. The studio has never begun an Oscar campaign this early, which suggests that Fox has a lot more in store before awards season has wrapped up.
Clearly, Fox is aware that Logan could gain some Oscar love, but is also aware that the odds of this happening are slim without the right persuasion.
There are a lot of fantastic elements to this movie. It’s easy to see Hugh Jackman getting a Best Actor nomination, and Patrick Stewart being picked for Best Supporting Actor. Best Cinematography, Best Adaptation, and Best Writing are all possible too.
It’s hard to imagine Logan getting a nomination for Best Movie, but by the time Fox is finished hyping this thing, who knows? Stranger things have happened in Hollywood.
If Logan does get some nominations, it’s going to be a big deal. Technical awards aside, comic book movies have often been looked down on by the Academy as a whole. They’re just not serious enough to win awards – regardless of whether or not the movie in question is dealing with big political or social themes.
Logan, though, might just clinch it. The movie is certainly very serious, and is also a smart deconstruction of the superhero genre. If there’s one thing the Academy loves, it’s a movie that points out how stupid comic books are – just look at Birdman.
If this movie manages to snag an Oscar, everything changes. We’ve already been moving towards the point where superhero films can be considered respectable for a while – Deadpool gained some impressive award nominations last year despite being very, very silly – but an actual win for Logan would mean Old Guard movie buffs finally giving the superhero genre the respect it deserves.
It could also be a signifier of the end of days for a media trend that’s dominated the box office for two decades now. Superhero movies are getting to the point where deconstructions stories are getting more common, and if Hollywood starts embracing them as part of the media furniture, it’d be a good sign that the genre might be losing its freshness.
Marvel are already transitioning into making space operas, so the writing’s on the wall somewhat for straight superhero movies. An Oscar win could be the equivalent of when your grandma starts sharing a meme on Facebook – a symbol that a popular trend has become stale.
As to what the next big trend might be, it’s worth keeping an eye on horror movies to see where they go in the near future. Something about the current cultural landscape suggests that where audiences used to enjoy power fantasies, we’re increasingly fond of working through our fears regarding an unkind world that is designed to punish us.
No surprises for guessing what’s caused that change in attitudes. We weren’t going to be on board with seeing billionaires as heroes forever in the current political climate.
So we’ll have to wait and see what happens with Logan. This movie could be the first superhero blockbuster to attain the highest praise available, but it could also be the signal that spandex and laser beams are on the way down the drain.
If you catch my drift.