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It’s a familiar scenario. A comic-book movie, not directed by the usual white male, far exceeds expectations of quality, critical acclaim, and box office. And so the question rises: Could “Black Panther” be the genre movie that confounds conventional wisdom and ascends to the status of Best Picture Oscar contender? Or, like “Wonder Woman,” will it be shut out entirely?
Each year, the studios try to push their best genre successes beyond the technical ghetto. All Oscar campaigners want to convince critics, guilds, and Oscar voters that their movies rise to the level of art, but any fantasy, horror, thriller, action or comic-book movie is the camel that must pass through a needle to reach the Best Picture side.
Exception - Peter - Jackson - Lord - Rings
The biggest exception was Peter Jackson’s “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy. All three films scored Best Picture nominations, and technical wins: “Fellowship” scored 13 nominations and wins for Makeup, Visual Effects, and Cinematography; “The Two Towers” earned six and won Sound Editing and VFX; and then came the ultimate triumph for the finale “The Return of the King”: a grand sweep of all 11 nominations, including Best Picture.
Certain truisms hold for these films: Unless the first movie in a series has been nominated, those that follow rarely are. Major-category nominations are exceptional; technical nominations are the norm, though wins are not assured.
Exceptions - Matt - Damon - Nomination - Best
There are exceptions, like Matt Damon’s nomination for Best Actor in “The Martian,” and Alfonso Cuaron’s win as best director for “Gravity.” But comic-book epics rarely yield major Oscar nominations. In 2008, Heath Ledger posthumously won Supporting Actor for Christopher Nolan’s “Batman” entry “The Dark Knight.” If superhero movies are in the running, it’s usually for VFX and technical nods — they even win some, especially with the original iteration, before it’s a full-fledged franchise (See: the original Dick Donner “Superman,”...
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