Deadpool earned two major Golden Globe nominations on Monday, making it the first superhero movie to break through that award show barrier. Although there have been stronger movies, objectively, within the superhero genre over the past decade, there are a number of reasons why Deadpool earned a nomination over others, according to expert.
Sasha Stone, an award show expert who covers the Oscars, Emmys and Golden Globes, said the main reason that Deadpool earned a nomination was because it focused on the comedy. Unlike other superhero movies that go for a dramatic tone — think The Dark Knight or Captain America: The First Avenger — Deadpool set itself apart from the genre and competed in a lighter category.
“Deadpool seemed to stand apart from the usual superhero movies in terms of marketing and tone — not so serious,” Stone told Polygon.
The only other two superhero movies to get any kind of major nomination from the Academy or the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (the group of international critics that votes on the Golden Globe nominees) are Heath Ledger for his performance in The Dark Knight and Jack Nicholson for his role as the Joker in Batman. By choosing to not focus on the grittier side of the superhero and narrowing in on the violence, Deadpool felt less like a genre film in comparison.
The film wasn’t the only thing to earn a nomination, however, and Stone said it’s important to acknowledge just how successful Ryan Reynolds’ campaign for the film was. From the very beginning, Reynolds has driven the success of the film. When combined with his star power and likability, there’s an aspect of the character that many other superhero movies don’t have.
“Ryan Reynolds was the best thing about the film,” Stone said. “In a year where the comedy category is light, it was easier for him — but he might have made it in anyway since it was one of the most talked about performances of the year.”
Reynolds fought for the film to get made for years before test footage was leaked during San Diego Comic Con in 2014 and Fox gave him the green light. The actor was heavily involved in both the writing and directing process, even taking on parts of the financial burden to ensure he was able to make the movie that he wanted.
Even post-Deadpool, Reynolds has been heavily involved in playing parts of the character online and keeping that persona. It was because of his Deadpool-like tendencies that the actor won Best Entertainer of the Year at the Critics Choice Awards on Oct. 11. Stone reiterated to Polygon that his involvement in the project was crucial to the film’s success and the overall nomination.
The Golden Globes will air on Jan. 8 at 8:30 p.m. ET on NBC.