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Why ‘Wonder Woman’ Will Get Oscar Nominations

Inevitably, "Wonder Woman" is getting Oscar talk. We parse the probabilities, including Gal Gadot.

Wonder Woman

“Wonder Woman”

Warner Bros.

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When a movie hits the zeitgeist with the force of the “Wonder Womanglass-ceiling-shattering $103-million opening, Oscar speculation is inevitable. But let’s get real. Comic-book superhero epics rarely yield major Oscar nominations, no matter how much audiences and critics rave about Patty Jenkins’ superb achievement. (More about how the movie broke DC’s losing streak here.)

“Wonder Woman”

There’s no question Academy voters will see the movie: Members were turned away at the packed Academy screening at the Goldwyn Theatre Saturday. (They book weekend screenings year round, but summer flicks are often less attended.) Warners did not supply anyone for a Q&A, because ahead of the anticipated opening, “Wonder Woman” was not considered an Oscar contender. Now it is, and Warners will certainly push for it. But what will they likely get?

READ MORE: Awards Race Disruption: Why ‘Get Out’ and Netflix Can Afford to Rewrite the Rules

Most often, superhero movies are in the running 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,” Tim Burton’s first “Batman,” “Dick Tracy,” “Men in Black,” and “Spider-Man 2”). It’s hard to believe that Christopher Nolan has yet to land an Oscar nomination as director, or that “The Lego Movie” failed to land an animation nod. (Heath Ledger won a rare posthumous acting Oscar for “The Dark Knight.”) Even the JK Rowling “Harry Potter” series landed 12 technical nominations over eight movies — and never won.

READ MORE: ‘Wonder Woman’: What Does One Great Female Superhero Mean For the Future of the Genre? — Analysis

While “Wonder Woman” is a superior effort all around and will compete for craft recognition, it’s hard to imagine the movie without Gal Gadot and Chris Pine. Jenkins and her two leads brought the movie home with a high degree of difficulty. Israeli-trained Gadot makes a sweet, tough, beautiful, athletic, exotic, idealistic, no-nonsense, believable Amazon goddess fighting to save the world from the God of War. And experienced “Star Trek” star Pine, who has serious theater chops as well, served the role of audience surrogate, helping Wonder Woman navigate our crazy culture as she demonstrates her amazing skills, while of course falling in love with her. We all do.

The two actors are at turns vulnerable, bewildered, confused, authoritative, charming, seductive, opportunistic, anxious, needy, and powerful. And they maneuvered through some witty moments and dialogue. They make the movie light on its feet; until the inevitably over-pixelated finale, “Wonder Woman” doesn’t get ponderous or heavy.

That said: Although George Miller’s “Mad Max: Fury Road” landed 10 nominations including Picture and Director, and six eventual wins, the cinematic actioner did not land acting nominations for the magnificent Charlize Theron or Tom Hardy. But their roles were virtually without dialogue. “Wonder Woman,” like James Mangold’s end-of-the-road Wolverine finale, “Logan,” gives its actors plenty to do — a little romance, adventure, action; there’s more for the actors to hang onto. (That’s another comic-book movie that could yield some nominations this year.)

On the basis that the Academy will continue to lean into inclusion, I’m betting that both Gadot and Pine will be nominated, as Best Actress and Supporting Actor, respectively, with Jenkins — depending on how generous the Guilds and critics will be at year’s end — scoring some Best Director nods.

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Comments

Bridgie James Rosenthal

“It’s hard to believe that Christopher Nolan has yet to land an Oscar nomination…”

Christopher Nolan is a two-time Academy Award nominee for Best Original Screenplay: Memento (2001; he lost to Gosford Park’s Julian Fellowes) and Inception (2010; he lost to The King’s Speech’s David Seidler). He was also nominated for co-producing Inception with his wife (and producing partner) Emma Thomas.

    The Other James D.

    For what it’s worth, Thompson said in regards to Nolan, “as Best DIRECTOR”.

Bridgie James Rosenthal

…, and “The Lego Movie” failed to land a nod of any kind.

It was nominated for Best Original Song (“Everything is Awesome”) in 2015.

    Drejhead

    The article doesn’t say lego Movie failed to land a nomination of anyu kind. It says it failed to land an “Animation” nomination.

Robin Matthews

This has to be the most ridiculous and stupid argument I have ever read. Firstly I disagree entirely with the idea that this is a good film and the idea that Godot’s performance being anything other than a clunky attempt at an outdated Superhero and Pine is passable… passable, the way you describe their performances to be “vulnerable, bewildered, confused, authoritative, charming, seductive, opportunistic, anxious, needy, and powerful” is the problem with their characters, they are shallow vessels for whatever emotion the film is trying to peddle in that scene. Honestly this is ridiculous that the film is achieving this level of critical hyperbole.

Hunter Nikolaus

You’re delusional.

Emily

Really? I mean, Wonder Woman was good but Oscar worthy? Maybe Patty Jenkins’ direction but not the performances.

    Santiago

    Not going to happen lol. If this is the best acting we get in the year, it will be a sad year… Not that I didn’t enjoy the movie or recognize how much better it is to other super hero rehashed shit

David

Wow, now the Academy wants to nominate superhero movies, and last a Scorsese movie was toattly rejected by this organization. It’s truly a grim era for movies.

Emma

Lol… I really enjoyed Wonder Woman but the little girl in Logan had a better acting performance than Gal Gadot frankly.. it looks very unlikely, given the competition this year, that Patty Jenkins will get a nom even though her directing was the best part of Wonder Woman.

Jim

By “inclusion”, do you mean affirmative action? I would hope that a group of “artists” would vote based on merit and not a political agenda. But if any “superhero” type movie should be getting any nominations for acting and directing, its Logan.

Tzachi

Hey, if “Suicide Squad” can win an Oscar, it’s not that unreasonable that “Wonder Woman” could get a nomination.

DougW

I think people are getting caught up in the moment. I enjoyed Wonder Woman, but never once did the word “Oscar” pop into my head. “The Dark Knight” is still the gold standard.

Jillian

Another absolutely ridiculous article from Thompson. Do people seriously take this writer seriously? She’s proven time and time again how cinematically illiterate she is.

fbfanatic

Anne is such a respected voice in the film world that I’m a bit stunned by her last paragraph.

Pine was unquestionably terrific in “Hell or High Water,” but even in such an outstanding film he was unable to snag a nom. He can perform a role like the one in WW in his sleep, but putting aside his charm and screen presence, this turn hardly has the nuance of an Oscar nominated performance. Gadot is very beautiful and does nice job portraying this superhero, but mentioning her as a real, potential nominee is frankly absurd. She’s also charming and sincere but hardly a powerhouse actress. Jesus.

Max Oxley

I’d be amazed if WW got noms. I think the big surprise nominations will come in the form of Get Out (screenplay, director, picture)

    The Other James D.

    That’s not going to get those major nominations. It’s unlikely to get any. In spite of its reviews, it’s early release date hinders its chances. Furthermore, it doesn’t hold up as strongly upon rewatch. It will be among the annual “great but overlooked” bunch.

NotGreatBob

Anne mentioned on the last ScreenTalk podcast that she was a WW superfan and even had a collection of WW figurines. Methinks she is a tad biased. VFX and maybe hair/makeup and sound are the only possibilities. Seriously, this article is embarrassing.

The Other James D.

Once again, another delusional hypothesis. Just because it’s broken some new ground in female-led superhero(ine) films, Jenkins did a great job helming, and Gadot/Pine were charming, does not equate to Oscar nominees. It’s only June, and it’s one thing to throw their names into the mix as contenders worthy of some consideration. It’s another to actually PREDICT that said nominations will happen. You were 100% sure about Bening last year, and you were 100% wrong. If you were wrong about Bening, I’m 100% sure you’ll be wrong about Gadot and Pine. Let’s take a look at some of the upcoming Best Actress contenders:

Annette Bening (Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool)
Jessica Chastain (Molly’s Game)
Lily Collins (To the Bone)
Judi Dench (Victoria & Abdul)
Brie Larson (The Glass Castle)
Jennifer Lawrence (Mother!)
Danielle Macdonald (Patti Cake$)
Rooney Mara (Mary Magdalene)
Frances McDormand (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri)
Margaret Qualley (Novitiate)
Emma Stone (Battle of the Sexes)
Kate Winslet (The Mountain Between Us)

Also possible: Meryl Streep (The Post…or w/e the hell it’s to be titled), providing it’s not a flop; Salma Hayek (Beatriz at Dinner); Keira Knightley (The Aftermath); Sally Hawkins (The Shape of Water); Elizabeth Olsen (Wind River); Alicia Vikander (Tulip Fever), if it’s not a mess; Nicole Kidman (The Beguiled), who’s quite ubiquitous this year. And several more, depending on reviews and/or release dates.

This could be either Chastain’s or Bening’s year, as both are great roles and many feel both are destined to win eventually. In Bening’s case, she’s certainly due and has last year’s omission on her side. Then there’s the always-reliable Dench in another Frears period piece. Mara continues to shine, and even if MM bombs, there’s Una as a longshot. McDormand is at the top of her game in what’s sure to get a push. Winslet has Wonder Wheel, too (which I’m skeptical about), but if TMBU is good, she could be a shoo-in. Women in peril often do well. Stone could just be a Golden Globe nominee, but she’s on a hot streak.

Macdonald is likely the indie darling, but ya never know if it’s gonna go the way of Juno. A longshot, but very much a contender. Collins has a baity role and a GG nod last year, but as far as newcomers go, my money is on Qualley after the Sundance reviews. Meanwhile, Larson is still an IT girl, but she might be overshadowed by Harrelson and Watts in supporting roles. As for Lawrence, again, supporting turns from Pfeiffer and Harris might steal the show, but we can’t underestimate her.

So with ALL those ladies, who’ve either had rave reviews at festivals thus far, or are in projects that are likely to score on some level….How on Earth does Gadot even stand a chance of surpassing any of them?! It’s unfathomable.

    fbfanatic

    Don’t forget Saoirse Ronan in either “Lady Bird” or “On Chesil Beach.”

      The Other James D.

      Oh, I haven’t! But I noticed On Chesil Beach was pushed back to 2018 in the UK, so it’s less likely to be released stateside prior to that. (It might be eligible for BAFTA attention, however.) I’m looking forward to Lady Bird, but unless that appears at TIFF, its chances of being a 2017 release seem dubious. And then there’s also The Seagull! (Not sure if Bening or Ronan would campaign in lead for that? But there’s such muted word on that, I’m fearing it may be a hot mess to begin with. Hm.) Anyway, I would love to see Ronan win one of these days. Love that her career continues to blossom.

        fbfanatic

        James, I realize OCB has been scheduled for January in the U.K., but according to their rules, so long as the film is screened in about mid December, then it’s eligible for BAFTA consideration.

        I thought the future acquisition by a N. American distributor would have nothing to do with the U.K. release. My guess is the film will be screen at one or all of the fall festivals, pick up a distributor and then be released in November or December. Do you have any contrary info you can share? Thanks.

          The Other James D.

          As of now, On Chesil Beach was updated on IMDb and Wikipedia as a 2018 film. Ian McEwan novels have often made for good films, but not so much in terms of Oscar-bait. I doubt even if purchased, the distributor (probably The Weinstein Company, Sony Pictures Classics, or Focus Features) would rush this for a late-fall release in order to qualify for this year’s Oscars. They and most other companies already have slates that are filling up fast. It seems more plausible that it’ll garner a 2018 spring release stateside. If any Ronan film makes it out in time this year, I figure it’ll be Lady Bird. I can see maybe Fox Searchlight nabbing that at TIFF and giving it a November release, perhaps putting Ronan in contention for Golden Globes – Comedy/Musical and Gerwig/Ronan for Spirit Awards, maybe? Idk, it’s all too early to tell for sure. But nevertheless, I’m looking forward to all of Ronan’s upcoming projects. She’s choosing her projects wisely and I’m sure an Oscar is in her future one day! Meanwhile, I’m starting to feel more confident in The Papers bringing Streep and Hanks into the mix. Since Streep STOLE Adams’s spot last year (imho), I kinda hope she gets snubbed this year but I’d be really happy to see Hanks make the cut given his egregious Captain Phillips snub. I can’t wait for it to be like November/December already.

MP

I think for the main categories Patty Jenkins should get a nom for Best Director and that’s it. The thing is, you cannot nominate Gal Gadot w/o nominating Hugh Jackman, and I highly doubt the Academy members will suddenly show superhero movies all the love in 2019 that they haven’t in previous years. I think if WW gets Best Director, then Logan should get Best Picture or viceversa. For the good of the franchise, I actually hope there are no acting nominations (maybe for the Golden Globes), cause if either Gadot or Pine get nominated and Hugh Jackman doesn’t, that will only hurt them.

Chris Nolan

No matter how good this movie might be in someone’s mind, it will not get any main nominations like Actors or Director, that’s for sure. Technical are the best it can get. And I loved it, but lets not forget who the Academy voters typically are.

Mario

Putting the whole groundbreaking female lead thing aside, Wonder Woman is just a pretty good superhero movie, in terms of just quality. That’s about it.

This is just vastly exaggerated. Never thought I’d read such nonsense on IndieWire.

Z.

Good Lord, Anne…no, just no. Look, I know that as part of your obligation to do your Masters bidding you sometimes have to write things that you wish you didn’t but this is ridiculous.

WW is your run of the mill superhero movie that has become so over praised it’s embarrassing. Also, Gal Gadot???…are you kidding?…an Oscar nomination?-at the expense of which obviously more deserving actress, Anne?.
My God, what nonsense. Hadith can’t act and you know it, Patty Jenkins, while talented, is no visual stylist and you know it and does not deserve an Oscar for WW.
If Jennifer Lawrence and Charlize Theron were not nominated for their performances in Catching Fire and Mad Max respectively, then no way in God’s green earth does Gal Gadot (wooden actress if ever there was one) deserve a nomination.
Articles like this are silly and serve to fan the flames of the inevitable backlash that is growing fast against this film. Enough, Anne…

Z.

*Gal Gadot not Hadith*

Corvo

Politics, politics, politics. So bad.

The Other James D.

Just for fun, let’s also look at the Supporting Actor contenders (often the most crowded category of late), and why there’s absolutely no logical room for Chris Pine. I love the guy, and think he’s very talented. But this won’t be his breakthrough nomination.

Steve Carell (Battle of the Sexes)
Willem Dafoe (The Florida Project)
Idris Elba (Molly’s Game)
James Franco (The Disaster Artist)
Woody Harrelson (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri)
Ed Harris (Mother!)
Garrett Hedlund (Mudbound)
Ben Mendelsohn (Darkest Hour)
Joaquin Phoenix (Mary Magdalene)
Ray Romano (The Big Sick)
Michael Shannon (The Current War)
Christoph Waltz (Downsizing)

Also: Bruce Dern (Chappaquiddick), if it’s released this year; J.K. Simmons (The Snowman), possibly–depending on his role; Jason Mitchell (Mudbound)…I’ve read great things about both men, so who knows?; Sterling K. Brown (Marshall)–promising part in a biopic, and he’s on a hot streak lately; Harrison Ford (Blade Runner: 2049), for nostalgia purposes; Patrick Stewart (Logan)…If any superhero movie’s performance gets attention, it’ll be this beloved veteran actor. But it’ll take a slew of critics’ support to make that a reality.

Harrelson, imo, has several roles this year which could garner attention. He could get in for (The Glass Castle) instead, but I went with TBOEM as it’s a bolder film and role. Meanwhile, Franco has already gotten raves and would likely bring Tommy Wiseau to the Oscars, guaranteeing hilarity. Dafoe is looking pretty good right now. Same goes for Mendelsohn, who’s been in the mix for a nod for years now and w/ what’s likely the top biopic this year, portraying a king? C’mon. As for Shannon, he just got a nod last year over the more buzzed about Taylor-Johnson. If TCW is any good, he’s right back in contention.

Phoenix as Jesus Christ seems like bait on paper, so as long as it’s not a mess, he could be in contention in both lead (You Were Never Really Here) and supporting as backup. Elba, same deal: lead for (The Mountain Between Us), supporting for MG. Plus, he has a recent snub on his side and people love him. Carell might campaign lead, and might only be a Golden Globe contender. But he’s worth mentioning anyhow.

Like Pfeiffer, Harris is overdue for an Oscar. And IF this film is palatable, his role might garner him some attention. (Or it could turn off the Academy. Should be fun to see how that goes.) Waltz is obviously loved, and Payne films always do well. This could be nom #3. Meanwhile, Romano seemed to curry favor at Sundance, so I could easily see him here. And finally, Hedlund has been growing with each passing year, so if this film can mount an awards push, he might be able to slip in (which I’d love, personally). I only fear that the Netflix factor will taint any film’s (and its casts’) chances….But I’d still bet he and these others have better odds than Pine!

Nate

Is Anne Thompson high?

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