Will Comic Con ever launch a Best Picture winner?

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Each and every year, it seems like the annual San Diego Comic Con becomes more of a launching pad for future summer blockbusters. Now sure, they also still have comic books and television shows and everything in between (including talks by Kevin Smith), but these days most outlets go to cover the film studio panels, getting early looks at upcoming superhero flicks and the like. Something you rarely see though is prestige pictures getting put forward. Could that change one day though? Could we one day see Comic Con become a place where Oscar hopefuls go to tease voters early? I’m not sure we ever will in that overt way, but I think we’re going to see at the very least nominees come from the Con. With the convention coming to a close over the weekend, this sort of thing has been on my mind a bit.

What do I mean when I say that we’ll at least see nominees from the Con? Take for example how Warner Brothers brought out Christopher Nolan during their panel to talk about Interstellar, their upcoming science fiction epic. Hot on the heels of Gravity likely being the runner up in Best Picture at the most recent Academy Awards, there’s certainly the possibility that this could contend for a win in the top category. Sci-fi seems to be the most likely correlation here, but I don’t think it’s the only one to be found. Perhaps going forward war films can try to take this route as well?

While a superhero flick is unlikely to ever crack the lineup at this point (if The Avengers or The Dark Knight couldn’t do it, it’ll be a while before a new type of superhero movie comes out and can), something based off of a pre-existing property certainly could. If The Hobbit franchise from Peter Jackson had been better received, that’s one example for sure. Also, imagine if Comic Con had been as big as it is now back when David Fincher’s Fight Club had come out? It’s not hard to see that having a big Hall H presentation and wowing the crowd. There’s clearly types of films that can appeal to both a Hall H audience member and an Oscar voter…

Basically, film festivals currently serve the same purpose for prestige fare as Comic Con does for blockbusters. An exclusive group of audience members and journalists see something early (a clip in the case of the Con) and hopefully spread positive word of mouth. That in turn creates a hungry audience for the product. It doesn’t exactly sound sexy when you put it like that, but it’s the truth. In that sense, it’s kind of surprising that more prestige movies don’t go to Comic Con and more blockbusters don’t go the festival route, but that’s another story for another day.

It’s possible that one day this particular convention will start to introduce higher profile awards contenders, but that day isn’t here yet. Since the Con just recently came to a close, it was something that was on my mind and I figured I’d do a bit of thinking out loud here. It’s an interesting thing to ponder, if nothing else. The end of the convention also signals basically the beginning of the end of the summer movie season, which means that awards season is just around the corner. Stay tuned, it’s going to get even more interesting around here!

About Joey Magidson

A graduate of Stony Brook University (where he studied Cinema and Cultural Studies), resides in Brooklyn, New York. He contributes to several other film-related websites and is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

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