With 2017 coming to an end and Oscar season coming up faster than Dwayne Johnson driving a muscle car, I started to have a think about my favourite films of the year and I surprised myself. I’m not sure whether I’ve just not seen as many films as I usually do – so immersing myself in smaller films that usually occupy my film of the year slot (2016s The Nice Guys, 2015s Ex Machina etc.) – or whether the big blockbuster, franchise films are getting, well, better?
I imagine it’s probably the prior as after having looked at the films that in the Oscar spotlight, I’ve only seen a handful at best. But that doesn’t mean that the prior statement isn’t also true.
Films like Paddington 2 and Star Wars: The Last Jedi usually get released near the holidays to take advantage of the lucrative box office window, but is it so weird to think that they might just be spearheading Oscar season too? Especially Thor Ragnarok; with its unique style and tone for a film soaked in so much franchise, would it be such a leap to think that some important people aren’t looking at its Kiwi director (Taika Waititi) and including him in some conversations?
It wouldn’t be the first time either that a winding down franchise has caught Oscar appeal. Just look at The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King and its 11 Academy Awards. As an end to the trilogy, a big payoff was needed to make sure everyone went home afterwards feeling satisfied, so think about how much payoff Marvel will need after 20+ films when the Infinity War saga concludes.
As I mentioned earlier, I don’t think this year is going to be that sort of year and by the looks of things, it’s going to be the more predicable films that make it into the nominations. I mean, Marvel has only won 2 awards to date – both for Best Achievement in Visual Effects in Iron Man and Guardians of the Galaxy – but as the franchise continues, their films have generally been getting progressively better, so I’d put money on untitled Infinity War Part 2 turning some heads. The real question is, will Star Wars Episode 9 – released the same year – make it a franchise filled awards ceremony? I suppose we’ll have to find out and wait.