Deadpool and Ryan Reynolds were both shut out at the Golden Globes this past weekend, but the movie’s latest nomination proves it still has a chance at the Oscars.
Earlier today, Deadpool earned a Producers Guild of America (PGA) nomination for Best Picture. That may not sound as prestigious as a Golden Globe or as sophisticated as a Screen Actors Guild award, but the PGAs carry quite a bit of weight. Most film experts will tell you that the movies nominated for Best Picture at the PGAs tend to get nominated for Best Picture awards at the Academy Awards.
From 2007 to 2014, the PGAs have had the strongest track record of picking the movie that has won Best Picture at the Oscars. The only exception came last year when the PGAs picked The Big Short instead of Spotlight, which won the Oscar for Best Picture. With previous awards already picked up for both Deadpool and Ryan Reynolds, the idea of the film earning a nomination at the Oscars seems less bizarre each day.
The biggest thing standing in Deadpool’s way is the fact that it’s a movie about a superhero. In 2009, The Dark Knight didn’t get nominated for Best Picture even though it was the most talked about movie of the year. While Heath Ledger did win an award for Best Supporting Actor for his role as the Joker, the snub led to Time Magazine calling it one of the most overlooked films by the Academy.
“Christopher Nolan’s saturnine fantasy was a film that kids and critics alike appreciated, less as a live-action comic book than as a triangular battle of stern Good, giggling Evil and two faces in between,” Richard Corliss wrote at the time.
Award show experts even suggested that it was because The Dark Knight was snubbed that the Academy reinstated the rule that 10 films could be nominated for Best Picture instead of limiting it to five. Is the Academy trying to correct a mistake it made eight years ago? It’s difficult to say, but the bigger question is why nominate Deadpool for Best Picture instead of countless Marvel movies that came before it?
For one, Reynolds has been campaigning pretty heavily for an Oscar nomination, even enlisting the help of friends like Hugh Jackman to give Deadpool the push it needed. For another, although Deadpool is certainly a genre film, it doesn’t feel as lighthearted or child-centric the way Marvel movies sometimes can. Deadpool stands on its own feet as a comedy film, and ties genre elements into it as opposed to the reverse.
“Ryan Reynolds was the best thing about the film,” Awards Daily columnist Sasha Stone told Polygon when Reynolds was nominated for a Golden Globe. “It was one of the most talked about performances of the year.”
Still, Deadpool is a comic book movie, and the Academy hasn’t always been kind to genre programming. Jaws lost to One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest in 1975, Star Wars lost to Annie Hall in 1977, ET lost to Ghandi in 1982 and most recently, Mad Max: Fury Road lost to Spotlight.
The joke has always been that if a movie is about a historical figure (Lawrence of Arabia), historical event (Titanic) or Hollywood (The Artist), it’s a shoo-in to win. By this logic, La La Land, Lion or Hidden Figures seems poised to take home the trophy for Best Picture. Considering La La Land’s seven-award sweep at the Golden Globes on Sunday, it’s certainly looking like the frontrunner to beat. Only a few sci-fi or otherwise classified as genre films have won an Oscar for Best Picture, including The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King and The Silence of the Lambs.
The one advantage Reynolds has going for him is that its his peers who will be casting votes. The Academy is made up of producers, writers, actors, directors and other talent. Reynolds is well-liked among most circles in Hollywood, and the story behind Deadpool — an actor’s 11-year-dream to get his pet project made — will appeal to Hollywood types.
The Academy can nominate up to 10 films for Best Picture. If you remove the obvious — La La Land, Fences, Hidden Figures, Hacksaw Ridge, Moonlight, Manchester by the Sea, Hell or High Water and Lion — that still leaves two slots open. Deadpool may just become one of the first major comic book movies to earn an Oscar nomination. Chimichangas for all!
Nominations will be announced on Jan. 24.