Maybe Wonder Woman could be an Oscar contender after all. Patty Jenkins’s megahit starring Gal Gadot lassoed a Best Picture nomination from the Producers Guild of America Friday, and the voting body ballot’s list has historically been a strong predictor of future Oscar contenders.
That’s the good news for the DC Comics female superhero sensation, which, beyond a nomination from the Screen Actors Guild for its stunt team, hadn’t registered much so far on the awards circuit.
The bad news is we were saying the same thing last year about Deadpool, the Ryan Reynolds raunchfest that scored not only a PGA Best Picture nomination, but also one from the Golden Globes (albeit in the easier-to-qualify-for Musical or Comedy category) and other high-profile accolades from the Critics’ Choice Awards and Writers Guild Awards. It never happened.
This year’s WGA nominations were announced on Thursday, and it was another X-Men movie, Logan, that earned a surprise nod for its script, with writers Scott Frank and James Mangold landing on the ballot for Best Adapted Screenplay.
So both Wonder Woman and Logan have a pulse in the Oscar race, but they’re still longshots for one simple fact: The Oscars still have an aversion to superhero movies in its top category. This has remained the case even though the Best Picture field has been expanded to accommodate up to 10 nominees — in large part because of backlash over the snubbing of Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight in 2009. It’s true, and we’ll keep saying it’s true until they nominate one for Best Picture.
What were this week’s big winners in the awards race, then? The hilarious Tonya Harding biopic I, Tonya and the scorching poker thriller Molly’s Game — a pair of female-lead favorites that until this week felt like fringe contenders for Best Picture.
Both landed WGA nominations on Thursday (I, Tonya by longtime rom-com writer Steven Rogers; Molly’s Game by celebrated scribe Aaron Sorkin), and then, even more surprising, both scored PGA nominations on Friday, besting critical darlings Mudbound, The Florida Project, Phantom Thread, The Disaster Artist, and Darkest Hour.
Tonya actresses Margot Robbie and Allison Janney and Molly’s Game star Jessica Chastain were already considered strong Oscar contenders — especially after the Tonya tandem scored noms from the acting guild and all three received Globes nods — but now the films must be considered serious Best Picture players.
We’ll see when the Oscar nominations are announced Jan. 23, but for now here’s a nice stat that emerged from today’s PGA proceedings. Of the 11 films nominated for Best Picture, seven (including Wonder Woman, I, Tonya, and Molly’s Game) are led by female characters. That’s some wonderful progress.
Watch Margot Robbie talk about her transformation for I, Tonya:
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