Watch Out, Wonder Woman Is Coming for ALL the Oscars

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This is still in rumor territory, but exciting enough that I don’t mind speculating: Variety is reporting an “exclusive” source who claims Warner Bros. is currently discussing the possibility of a full-throated Oscar campaign for Wonder Woman.

If we’re asking whether Wonder Woman deserves to be considered for an Academy Award, I think most of us would answer with an immediate yes. But as we all know by now–right? I don’t want to crush anyone’s Hollywood idealism–Oscars have as much or, if we’re being honest, more to do with money and clout than quality. Hopefully, the awards go to the movies and people who deserve them, but they rarely get to even be considered without a whole lot of money up front. Oscar campaigns are expensive. Like, $10 million for a Best Picture award expensive. From screeners to advertising (did you know a page-one ad in the Hollywood Reporter costs $72,000??) to campaign consultants to hair/makeup/clothes for stars (think of all those interviews you see during Oscar season), studios put a LOT of money into the movies they choose to push. So if they’re choosing to push Wonder Woman, that’s big.

It’s especially big because they’ll be fighting the existing precedent of the Academy shunning superhero movies. Comic book movies will often get a nomination or win for their Visual Effects/Special Effects/Makeup/etc. (although Batman Begins got a Cinematography nomination and Heath Ledger posthumously won Best Supporting Actor for The Dark Knight), but so far, nothing from the genre has even been nominated for Best Picture or Best Director. Word is, Warner Bros. wants to push for both. (No love for Gal Gadot, Warner Bros?)

Warner Bros. clearly has a lot of reasons for wanting to take this risk. To start, Oscars directly lead to increased box office returns. But also, there are some “non-financial benefits” studios see when they win these awards. I have no idea how they measure these things, but the “Hollywood politics, bragging rights and brand image” that come with a Best Picture win are said to be worth about $7 million. For all the “bragging rights” and brand image boost they’ve acquired with the incredible success Wonder Woman has seen so far, it makes sense that they wouldn’t want to stop now. Dunkirk seems like a sure bet for the studio, but Wonder Woman would be an awards underdog, with some major potential cachet attached. And with the newly expanded and diversified body of Academy voters, they might be looking to jump right in and capitalize on those changes.

It’s not just the studio that benefits from an Oscar win. Stars and directors see a significant boost in their next job’s paychecks. (Although we know that success boost doesn’t always translate equally for female directors.) If Warner Bros. won’t commit to bringing Jenkins back for Wonder Woman 2, we’d at least like to see her get paid well somewhere else!

All of this is exciting. If Warner Bros. can get even a nomination for Wonder Woman or Patty Jenkins, it would be groundbreaking. (And of course, if Jenkins won, she’d only be the second woman to do so in that category.) And we want to see this movie get all the love, and all the accolades in the world.

(via Variety, image: Warner Bros.)

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Vivian Kane
Vivian Kane (she/her) is the Senior News Editor at The Mary Sue, where she's been writing about politics and entertainment (and all the ways in which the two overlap) since the dark days of late 2016. Born in San Francisco and radicalized in Los Angeles, she now lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where she gets to put her MFA to use covering the local theatre scene. She is the co-owner of The Pitch, Kansas City’s alt news and culture magazine, alongside her husband, Brock Wilbur, with whom she also shares many cats.