January 17, 2017

Can “Deadpool” really become an Oscar nominee?

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One of the most interesting developments during the recent part of the precursor season is the surprising strength that Deadpool has shown. From the Golden Globes to the Writers Guild to yesterday the Producers Guild, this odd little blockbuster has popped up in a number of places. Not only has it given rise to plenty of folks speculating about its Oscar chances, some are even making the case that a Best Picture nomination could be coming its way. That’s silly, but it does seem likely that the Academy could nominate the film somewhere. Just a few months ago, that would have been inconceivable. Deadpool is certainly one of the little movies that could this time around.

A quick summary, for those still in the dark about it. The flick is perhaps the most meta comic book tale we’ve ever seen. Sure, this is also an origin story about how mercenary Wade Wilson (Reynolds) became the mutant Deadpool, but it’s also a commentary on those sorts of plots as well. Wade/Deadpool breaks the fourth wall constantly, always letting us know that he knows he’s a comic book character, as well as starring in his own movie. It’s dirty, profane, and absolutely bonkers, but believe it or not, there’s also a believable, if also sexually charged, love story at the center, with Vanessa (Morena Baccarin) representing something more for the character. Tim Miller directs, while Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick penned the script. In addition to Reynolds in the leading role and the aforementioned Baccarin, the cast includes Gina Carano, Brianna Hildebrand, Stefan Kapicic, Greg LaSalle, T.J. Miller, Ed Skrein, and Leslie Uggams, along with the required Marvel movie cameo from Stan Lee, of course. Miller steals some of his scenes with comic relief, but Reynolds gives one of his best performances to date here.

There’s no question about it, Deadpool has exceeded all logical precursor expectations. In hindsight, there’s some logic to the WGA citation, in addition to fairly logical Golden Globe attention (I did predict it for some love, after all), but the fact that the PGA tapped it as well is a big shock. Considering how the technical categories have it under consideration, that’s way more across the board potential than anyone could have ever expected. It won’t necessarily translate into a massive day, as you’ll see below, but if there’s one movie really on the upswing, it’s this one. All of the other surprising contenders at least had the presumption of contention at some point. Don’t get me wrong, this is a terrific awards season surprise, but a big surprise nonetheless.

When you look at the film’s Academy Award potential, Deadpool suddenly seems unlikely to be shut out by Oscar. Now, don’t get too excited, as Best Picture, despite the PGA nod, is a long shot. After all, the Producers have a set list of ten that they use, while the Academy has a sliding scale. That hurts more idiosyncratic choices. That cripples its candidacy. Perhaps it comes close, but getting over hump seems nearly impossible. Similarly, Best Director for Miller and Best Actor for Reynolds aren’t happening. If there’s an above the line nom with any real chance, it’s in Best Adapted Screenplay for Reese and Wenick. Where this one will make its bones is in the technical fields. Already on the short list for a Best Makeup and Hairstyling nomination, the other tech categories could be in play for the film. Look out in Best Film Editing, Best Sound Editing, and Best Sound Mixing. At least one of those might wind up happening. If the movie winds up with more than one nomination, that would really be something.

All in all, Deadpool is suddenly the unlikely Oscar contender that everyone wants to talk about. The end result is still likely to be one or maybe two tech nominations, but the mere fact that you can predict it in a place like Best Adapted Screenplay and not feel like a complete fool is really something. Reynolds and company must be thrilled, and rightly so. There’s a chance this is all for nothing and a shut out still comes about, but the odds do now fave a nomination coming the way of Deadpool. Cheers to the Merc with the Mouth for potentially pulling this off…

Stay tuned to see if Deadpool can become an Academy Award nominated film!

About Joey Magidson

A graduate of Stony Brook University (where he studied Cinema and Cultural Studies), resides in Brooklyn, New York. He also contributes to several other film-related websites.

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