Why Don T Superhero Movies Win Oscars

Superhero Movies Receive Low Awards

Superhero movies may be hugely popular but their lack of Oscars remains glaring. The most recent highest grossing superhero movies- Marvels’s Avengers: Endgame, Black Panther and The Dark Knight Trilogy, just to name a few, failed to win any of the major awards at the recent Academy Awards. The current lack of Oscars reception has placed the depiction of iconic superheroes under the radar. Despite modern day technology and advancement of cinematic art, superhero movies still lack the ability to capture the attention of the Academy Awards judges.

Academy Lacks Solidification

The Academy Awards for Best Picture has been “solidifying” since over the last decade. Movies based on “true” stories of tragedy and despair are favored by the Academy judges, showing more of an appreciation for serious, dramatic films than superheroes. According to film critic, Matt Pais, “The Academy seems to favor stories of real-life characters. Movies based on a larger-than-life hero can’t compete with stories based on real people”. On the other hand, most superhero movies are perceived to be formulaic, unrealistic and dependent on special effects, rather than being narrative or story-driven.

Narrative Structure of Superhero Movies

The narrative structure of superhero movies is often structured too much in the same ways, with weak arcs and stories. Movies such as Iron Man and Captain America are based on the same characters and genre, making them interchangeable and somewhat repetitive, when viewed by Academy members. Superhero movies struggle to show characters grow, develop and bond with the audience due to the focus on CGI and special effects, rather than on storyline. Traditional war, period and crime movies are obviously more realistic and use flashback to explore characters’ backgrounds and motives, which makes them much more compelling to watch.

Action-Packed Elements

The lack of drama and character development in superhero movies is further exacerbated by action-packed elements, designed solely to attract a mass audience. These elements are often viewed as excessive and preventing superhero movies from being nominated in the awarding system. The sensationalism of superhero movies and their presentation of the main protagonist as “immortal”, in their indestructible strength, their performance of flashy stunts and their “god-like” powers are often seen as over-the-top, compared to the themes and settings of more award-winning movies.

Contrasting Preferences

Contrary to superhero movies, there appears to be a rise in the recognition of positive ‘heroic’ roles. In an attempt to reflect the current world cultures and its commitment to bringing a message of inclusion to the silver screen, Oscar voters seem to be rewarding independent and socially conscious films. Movies that aim to bring meaningful messages to the audience, most likely appeal more to knowledgeable and experienced Academy voters.

The Superhero Genre

The superhero genre has gone from strength to strength over the last ten years, despite the developing divisive attitude towards potential Academy Awards for them. Superhero media platforms and stories offer a fun, creative and dynamic way to explore social and cultural issues in the 21st century. Its appeal lies in the ability to represent diversity, inspire imagination and evoke powerful memories of courage, bravery and justice.

Under Appreciated By The Academy

In conclusion, despite the success of superhero movies at the Box office, they are often under-appreciated by the Academy. The general lack of dramatic, story-driven elements and the reliance on spectacular effects are some of the reasons award-winning movies rarely take home any major awards. Although superhero movies remain most popular with the public, it is essential to recognize them with relevant awards, to further reward and acknowledge the hard work of talented individuals in the film industry.

Non-Superhero Films At The Academy Awards

The Academy Awards are traditionally a platform for awarding non-superhero films. These movies generally include biographical films, war and crime stories, musicals, period dramas and independant films. The approach to awarding these films is symbolic, in that it provides a recognition and appreciation for the diverse range of stories being told. Recent examples of non-superhero movies that won major awards include ‘The Favourite’, ‘Roma’, ‘The Revenant’ and ‘Parasite’.

Why Critics Prefer Non-Superhero Films

The Academy Awards is a platform to recognize stories that extend outside of the boundaries of the elementary concepts of superhero films. Outside of the superhero genre, certain elements stand out much more clearly to the film critics. Storylines are sharper, casting much more innovative and artistic, and the level of technical achievement is much higher. Critics believe that emphasizing these elements helps to show the world whole new ways of looking at different stories.

Focus On Social and Political Issues

Non-superhero movies tend to focus on more mature and socially and politically relevant topics, allowing the audience to be more engaged, informed and inspired. This approach typically resonates much stronger with the Academy Awards voters. Movies such as ‘Moonlight’, ‘The Social Network’ and ‘The Departed’, focus on themes such as suffering, injustice and poverty, which receive much more critical and applause at the Academy Awards.

Inclusion Of Minority Representations

Non-superhero movies are considered to have much more focus on inclusion and representation of diverse genres, hence why they are much more likely to take home major awards. For example, the Academy Awards 2018 saw ‘Get Out’ and ‘Black Panther’ receiving recognition, in that both films brought new perspectives and narratives to the big screen. Interestingly, it has been suggested that if more superhero films were more inclusive and representative of characters, then their chances of receiving awards would increase exponentially.

Collaborative Efforts

Another way that non-superhero films take the spotlight at the Academy Awards is through the number of people involved in the making of the movie. Independent films generally have fewer personnel involved and no large production companies financially backing. Therefore, there is an increase in the level of collaboration between all involved, meaning that the movie is made with a much more personal and artistic approach. This is generally much more appreciated by the Academy Awards judges, who view these films as much more aesthetically pleasing and unique.

Vicki Strouth is a life-long film enthusiast, having grown up watching classic cinema in her childhood. She has since gone on to pursue writing about films and movie news, with her work being published on various online platforms. She is passionate about supporting independent filmmakers and highlighting important stories from around the world. She has also written a successful book about classic movies from Hollywood's Golden Age era. Vicki currently lives in Seattle, where she continues to explore films of all genres and eras.

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