Lack of Awards for Superhero Movies
It is no secret that superhero movies have grown in popularity and recognition over the last few decades, yet none of these blockbusters have managed to be rewarded at the prolific Oscars. Every year, movie fans wait and anticipate the list of Oscar nominees, but this is rarely satisfied with a nod to a superhero movie. This begs the question of why superheroes have been snubbed from awards, despite their box-office success.
Box office success is usually the main determining factor for films being nominated for the Oscars. Therefore, the current lack of superhero movie Oscar recognition is surprising, given their commercial success. For example, in 2019, the top 10 highest grossing films of the year were Marvel films such as Avengers: Endgame, and Spider-Man: Far From Home.
Another factor that contributes to a movie making it onto the Oscar List is the cast and crew. Superhero films are known to feature popular, talented actors and actresses, a long-standing tradition since Hugh Jackman’s portrayal of Wolverine in the X-Men franchise. Also, the directors, writers, and other off-screen personnel tend to be well-renowned. Therefore, it seems that the films are assembled with a lot of care and attention, and yet when it comes to the Oscars, these films remain neglected.
Furthermore, superhero films often explore complex themes and present morality questions, which have also come to be seen as prerequisites for a Groundbreaking Oscar. After all, films such as The Black Panther and Wonder Woman managed to challenge social and cultural norms, by featuring a predominantly African American cast and a female lead respectively.
In addition to this, superhero movies have heavily contributed to the popularization of genres such as Sci-Fi and Fantasy. For instance, Marvel comics have hundreds of characters, most of which have been turned into films, thereby increasing the appeal of Science Fiction and Fantasy.
Superheroes Are Not Limited to Just the Oscars
Despite the lack of nominations, there are other award ceremonies that recognize superhero films such as the MTV Movie Awards and Teen Choice Awards. Particularly regarding awards such as these, the audience engagement plays a role in the results, as fans are required to vote for their favorite films.
Additionally, superhero movies have also been a catalyst in making animated films popular. Animated films such as The Incredibles (2004) and Big Hero 6 (2014) have captured the hearts of audiences and have featured at the Academy Awards.
Moreover, beyond the Oscars, another large event that celebrates artistic and cinematic achievement is the Cannes Film Festival. Heavily influenced by the French New Wave and other avant-garde techniques, the Cannes Festival has proven to be a platform for the acceptance of superhero films, as this is the stage at which Thor: Ragnarok (2017) and Black Panther (2018) were premiered.
In light of this, it can be argued that superhero movies have left a mark in the cinematic industry without the midst of an Oscar nod.
Different Opinions of Superhero Films
Currently, there are divided opinions among movie critics and fans as to whether superhero films should receive Academy Awards. Some argue that it is unfair to judge these films in the same way as ‘classic’ films, as the former’s success is largely due to its special effects and large budgets.
Nevertheless, there are certain exceptions that prove that superhero movies deserve more recognition- one of them being Joaquin Phoenix’s portrayal of the Joker (2019).The grittiness and psychological depth of this film has set it apart from its superhero peers and thus it was highly likely to be nominated for an Oscar.
Moreover, another well-received superhero movie is Logan (2017), which tells the story of an aging Wolverine, who, despite his physical decline due to a serum he was given, continues on to protect a girl from a dangerous group of mutants. This narrative differs from other superhero films, as it ends with a tragic death and is influenced by neo-western themes.
Giving Superhero Movies a Chance
As such, it can be said that Oscars should give superhero films a chance and recognize them for their creativity and uniqueness. Superhero movies are no longer simply just action-filled blockbusters, as they now explore various genres and present morality questions.
Awards should also be given to these films based on their production budget, as this is an area to be particularly respected. For instance, Avengers: Endgame had an unprecedentedly large budget of $356 million and a whole team of filmmakers worked together to make sure this film was seen as a box-office success.
Similarly, Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) had a large production budget of $170 million and managed to successfully integrate several genres such as Action, Adventure, and Comedy, as opposed to limiting it to just action.
Superhero Movies Not Receiving Credit
In conclusion, while there are various interpretations of superhero movies and a large budget must be noted, it is also important to recognize that these films are often left out during award shows.
On a larger scale, superhero films have managed to captivate the imagination of audiences, but their lack of Oscars recognition has put a damper on this enthusiasm, as it sometimes appears that these movies are not being given the credit they deserve.
Studies have shown that superhero movies often experience a high initial performance in the box office and then have a slow decline in ticket sales, reflecting the audience’s choice for more traditional films.
Therefore, it is likely that superhero movies will be able to receive Oscar Awards in the coming years, as more contemporary themes and new emerging trends allow for a diverse nomination list.
Schools Embracing Superhero Movies
Moreover, acceptance of superhero movies has even been felt in classrooms and universities. For instance, the University of British Columbia offers a course called Studies in Superhero Film and Television, in which students learn about the various aspects of film production as well as heroes and anti-heroes.
The University of Stirling in Scotland offers a degree in Superhero Fandom, which is composed of various modules such as ‘The Power of a Superhero Brand’, ‘The Representation of Superheroes in Popular Culture’, and ‘The Psychology of Superhero Fandom’.
On a similar note, schools are increasingly substituting popular superhero films for classic literature when teaching students about literary analysis. This has proven to be very effective in teaching students difficult topics, as the superheroes are usually easier for students to relate to.
Superhero Fandom Impact
Apart from educational institutions, fans have also played a critical role in the success of superhero movies. The existence of a wide variety of fan clubs and graphic novels means that fans are engaged and committed to the superhuman universe.
Aside from this, many fans make use of various media to share their enthusiasm, such as creating fan art or writing fictional stories based on the characters. The largest fan sites, such as ComicBook.com, also feature comprehensive reviews, which often influence fan engagement.
Therefore, fandom has been the main backbone of superhero movie success, as it provides resources for filmmakers, as well as incentivizes fans to watch and share content.
Oscars and Superhero Movies Together
Overall, it seems that the Oscars and superhero movies are bound to combine in the future, as the two become part of a new cinematic trend. As traditional filmmakers begin to take chances and experiment with comic books, and production teams continue to assemble talented people, it is highly likely that superhero movies will eventually be acknowledged by the Academy.
This should signify an overall progression in how the Oscars view cinema, as it will allow for a more diverse nomination list and possibly an increased level of respect for superhero films.