When Deadpool came out, it received near-universal praise. Critics were satisfied and fans loved it, and this was reflected in the enormous sums of money it accrued at the box office. Deadpool was a fresh experience, a perfectly postmodern subversion of the comic book genre. This has led many to ponder how well the film will fare in the Oscars.
Well, it’s not likely that Deadpool will garner much recognition from the Academy, who are infamously flawed in their selection process. Oscars are voted on by thousands of people who work within the film industry, which leads to a number of problems.
“Deadpool was released in February. That is Oscar-suicide.”
The first is that these people are unlikely to see every film which comes out in a year. This means that independent films, foreign films, and poorly distributed films start with an unfair bias against them. But since Deadpool was a big blockbuster, this may work to its advantage.
But that’s not enough, unfortunately. The Academy tends to honour more recently released films since they are fresh in judges’ minds. Look at the Best Picture nomination lists from the past few years, and then compare with the release dates of those movies – you’ll notice a trend that most of these films were released towards the end of the calendar year. Studios have caught onto this trend and will invariably release their awards hopefuls at the end of the year (November/December time). Deadpool was released in February. That is Oscar-suicide.
“the Academy has repeatedly failed to realise that a great film doesn’t have to be high-brow.”
Then we get onto the topic of “Oscar bait.” The Oscars tend to pick the same sort of film. True stories such as historical epics and biopics generally fare the best. Even if your film is a masterwork, if it isn’t a serious drama then the chances it will be nominated are near zero. In case you didn’t see it, Deadpool is pretty far from a serious drama.
There are, however, exceptions to the Oscar bait rule. Think of how well the Lord of the Rings trilogy did, or Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight, which garnered a Best Actor statuette for Heath Ledger. But therein lies the problem: Lord of the Rings and The Dark Knight, despite belonging to fantasy and comic book franchises, were still serious, high-brow dramas. Unfortunately, the Academy has repeatedly failed to realise that a great film doesn’t have to be high-brow.
“A nomination for Deadpool in the writing category would be a token gesture.”
Deadpool does, however, have a small chance of being nominated in the Best Adapted Screenplay category, following its nomination in the Writers’ Guild Awards. But it won’t win. And it won’t be nominated for anything else. A nomination for Deadpool in the writing category would be a token gesture, intended to appease us fans who lobbied its merit.
Any good news? Well, the Oscars may be forced to change. Over the past decade the Academy has made huge adjustments to its membership and its nomination process, in response to high-profile criticism. And with fewer film-goers taking the awards seriously and some celebrities even boycotting the ceremony, the Academy may have to adapt to stay relevant. It will be too late for Deadpool, but future films of the same genre and tone may, one day, gain the recognition they deserve.
The Oscar nominations will be announced on the 24th January, and the ceremony will take place a month later.