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Logan gets rare Oscar recognition

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Superhero movie honored in a writing category

Ben Rothstein

Inside yesterday’s announcement of Academy Award nominees was this interesting tidbit: It’s the first time a superhero movie has been nominated for a writing award.

It depends, of course, on how one classifies “superhero movie,” but approaching it as a stock definition — live-action adaptation of an existing superhero franchise — then Logan, about Marvel’s cornerstone hero Wolverine, is the first one to get a nod for Best Adapted Screenplay. James Mangold, Scott Frank and Michael Green are credited in the nomination.

Logan is up against Call Me By Your Name, The Disaster Artist, Molly’s Game and Mudbound. The 90th Academy Awards ceremony will be held March 4, 2018.

American Splendor (2003) (by Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini) and Ghost World (2001, by Daniel Clowes and Terry Zwigoff) are also adaptations that have gotten the Academy ‘s attention. American Splendor was more of a biographical story about the author of that comic book series, Harvey Pekar. It was nominated for an Oscar in the Best Adapted Screenplay category in 2003.

Ghost World was nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay after it premiered in 2001. Ghost World was a graphic novel series spanning four years, but its subject — a darkly comic presentation of growing up — was far different from the doings of super-powered beings.

The Incredibles won two Oscars in 2005: Best Animated Feature and Best Sound Editing. Its story, characters and canon were wholly original, first appearing in that movie.

Deadpool was nominated for two Golden Globe Awards last year (Best Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy, and Ryan Reynolds for Best Actor in a Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy). And Plenty have been disappointed that Wonder Woman didn’t get a nod (nor The Lego Batman Movie) this year from the Academy. But tapping Logan for a writing award shows that superhero flicks, now a staple of summer movie season for more than 20 years, can break through on artistic merit, too.