We had one film release this past weekend with the potential for Oscar nominations.
When looking at the DC Extended Universe and the Oscars, it’s instructive to compare to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. While the MCU now has 15 films in its canon and DCEU only has four, the MCU has yet to win a single Oscar where as the DCEU picked up its first last year for the makeup for Suicide Squad.
Over in the MCU, of the fourteen films that have already competed at the Oscars, the franchise has nine Oscar nominations. The first two came with Iron Man in 2008. Iron Man 2 brought the third in 2010 followed by one in 2012 for The Avengers, one in 2013 for Iron Man 3, one in 2014 for Captain America: The Winter Soldier (the first in the MCU to go to a film not starring Robert Downey Jr.), 2 more in 2014 for Guardians of the Galaxy, and one last year for Doctor Strange. What’s notable is that until Winter Soldier, only films starring Downey were nominated the Oscars, which meant none of the other four films to that point had made Oscar appearances. After that dam broke, the two featuring Downey failed to score, while three of the other four got them. So, the franchise, in fourteen films, had 50% of the films picking up Oscar nominations.
Of the three films released prior to Wonder Woman, only one-third of them have Oscar nominations and that one, Suicide Squad, has the only Oscar win of any “universe” films. So where does this put Wonder Woman? Nowhere really, but it’s instructive to see the hot-and-cold nature of Oscar palates. They are fickle and what works for them for a time, stops working after awhile when they discover better options. That could be a boon to Wonder Woman. Until now, the DCEU has been very dark with somber color palettes, grim action, and lots of angst. Wonder Woman is looking more akin to the Marvel Cinematic Universe films, brighter, frothier, and lighter. That it’s also set in World War I could help net it some consideration in categories the MCU hasn’t been able to crack.
That said, Captain America: The First Avenger may be the best comparison to Wonder Woman. Both were origin stories set in the past. Captain America took place in World War II while Wonder Woman is set during the Great War thirty years before. That’s about where the comparisons end. Although The First Avenger had solid reviews, they are nothing compared to the glowing notices Wonder Woman has received. Matter of fact, it is one of the best reviewed superhero films ever. That will give it some traction with Oscar voters. That it is the first mainstream superhero film directed by a woman and only the fourth featuring a female superhero in the lead (not to mention the easily best reviewed of those four), recognizing the film could be quite empowering. Although I doubt it will lead to above the line citations, Production Design, Costume Design, Sound Mixing, Sound Editing, and Visual Effects will all easily be in play.