Hollywood is currently in the thick of the 2017 awards season, which means all the indie darlings and dramas like La La Land, Moonlight, Manchester by the Sea, and more are vying for the various accolades and hoping to emerge victorious come Oscar Sunday. Over the years, it's become widely known what type of film the Academy prefers to recognize, but every so often, they show a little love to a genre picture. In recent years, movies like District 9, Avatar, Inception, and The Martian have been nominated for Best Picture, and Denis Villeneuve's Arrival is expected to follow suit this year.
One genre that hasn't received a Best Picture nod in the 89 years the Oscars have been around is comic book/superhero. Arguably the closest offering was 2008's The Dark Knight, whose snub led to the Academy overhauling the Best Picture category to allow more films on the nomination list. Since that time, no superhero movie has been considered, but if Ryan Reynolds is as clairvoyant as he suggests, then this year's Logan will break new ground.
In an interview with Variety, the actor (who is a Golden Globe nominee for his turn in Deadpool), continued to sing the praises of director James Mangold's latest franchise installment, saying it has the potential to be something special:
“Logan looks like a movie that might break that glass ceiling. I know first-hand that it’s amazing. I’ve seen some of it. It’s mind-blowing. It relies a lot on character.”
Mangold has previously mentioned that Logan is more of a contemplative character study than a full-out spectacle-driven movie, which will certainly help it stand out from the current glut of superhero movies that play in theaters. The film is influenced heavily by Westerns, which is a genre the Academy has been quite fond of for a number of years (including this decade with True Grit and Django Unchained). That classification could certainly help Logan's chances, but it will be up to the voters to look past the metal claws and super powers and recognize the emotional human element at its core. Some fans may doubt this could ever happen, but 2015's Mad Max: Fury Road was a very outside-the-box Oscar selection that many found refreshing. Sometimes, the awards circuit does surprise.
Of course, what moviegoers care most about is Logan serving as a worthwhile entry in the X-Men film series that gives Hugh Jackman a fitting sendoff as his iconic character. In the event the movie is of high quality, then any Oscar love will just be icing on the cake. Still, it's encouraging that Reynolds is speaking very highly of the project. Given his relationship with the Fox/Marvel family, it shouldn't come as a surprise that he's being supportive, but this praise goes a bit beyond the typical promises of an upcoming tentpole being great. After Deadpool came through with a Best Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy nomination, maybe Logan can strike a chord with the Academy.