This year’s Oscar season is going to be a bit weird.
Following the news that Twentieth Century Fox is pushing to get Logan some recognition at the Academy Awards, Warner Bros is now throwing its hat into the ring, with an attempt to get Wonder Woman some similar love.
The new For Your Consideration campaign for Patty Jenkins’ standout superhero origin movie will involve submitting the movie to the Academy in every category except Best Actor, because, of course, this movie doesn’t have a lead male actor – although Chris Pine, David Thewlis, Danny Huston, and Ewen Bremner will all be put forward for a nomination as Best Supporting Actor.
This is a weird move for Warner Bros, and it’s even stranger when viewed in the context of what other films the studio is pushing this year.
Sure, Dunkirk and Blade Runner 2049 are perhaps just artsy enough to make sense as Oscar candidates, even if their position as expensive blockbusters with deliberately broad audience appeal would presumably hurt their chances here.
Who, though, could possibly think that Who’s the (Bat)Man, the title song from The Lego Batman Movie, could possibly deserve an Oscar for Best Original Song? It feels ridiculous.
Perhaps that’s the point. Maybe Warner Bros is looking at a poor year for movie ticket sales, and thinking that the best strategy is to just flood the Oscars with nominations for blockbusters that will have the most potential life on the home release market.
A nomination is worth having, whether or not it’s a serious one, and now that the Academy has started sprinkling in popular films alongside serious Oscar contenders in their nominations simply to give people a reason to care about the awards, Warner Bros may be hoping to exploit the inherent brand appeal that Wonder Woman has gained.
This is a whole new strategy – this time last year, Warner Bros was instead pushing War Dogs and Live By Night, two movies that seemed destined for Oscar greatness, and which both failed to receive the recognition they seemed to deserve.
After all, as fantastic as Wonder Woman is, the movie is hardly groundbreaking. There’s not much here to elevate it above other superhero movies and make it more deserving of an Oscar than other films. Warner Bros seems to simply be trying to flood the awards season with discussions of their own movies, perhaps in an attempt to drown out other films that don’t have the same clout.
Or maybe, just maybe, Warner Bros’ executives genuinely think that Wonder Woman stands a chance this year. With the current scandals surrounding sexism and abuse rocking Hollywood, perhaps the studio is hoping that a bastion of female power, directed by a talented woman, will be in with a better chance of grasping gold simply because the world needs a story about a female winning something in the movie industry.
As for why Lego Batman is in the mix? Well, why not? Maybe it’s an attempt to push the Academy to create a Best Product Placement award.
Stranger things have happened.