Deadpool and Oscar: Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay
Before I began writing I wanted to check some things out with my 3 favorite Oscar predictors-- Sasha Stone, Anne Thompson and Scott Feinberg. I usually don't get on the nominations predictions bandwagon, but this year, I'm going to give it a go. At least in the categories of which I have seen a significant number of potential nominees.
Which is why I felt the need to watch "Deadpool" yesterday. The buzz around this film is big. Other than "Hidden Figures" (a clear audience favorite/box office success) and "La La Land" (from it's record breaking night at the Golden Globes and it's good box office) it seems to be the film I'm seeing the most about heading into the nominations announcement. With a PGA nomination for Best Film and a WGA nomination for Adapted Screenplay as well as creative ad campaigns...we might have a contender here. As I mentioned in my last post, I felt that it was probably a bit of last minute boredom on our (Oscar writers/bloggers, etc) part, but whether or not that is how the seed was planted, it has been watered by the publicists.
The question is, will the Academy nominate "Deadpool." The membership has been tweaked over the years to add younger, more diverse members, but this is still the Academy. It's THE ACADEMY! Looking at my go-to progs, Sasha has left it off completely. Anne Thompson has it in the contender category for Adapted Screenplay. Scott has it left off the screenplay category and has it as a FRONTRUNNER for Best Picture! So, I had to watch it myself.
First of all, I wish I had watched it last summer, before there was any talk of this film in regard to Oscar. I went in with an open mind, but within the first 10 minutes I was completely underwhelmed. On paper, it reminded me of "Juno." Wearing its tone on it's sleeve and stock full of quirk (nasty quirk, but quirk nonetheless). Look! There he is on the cover of People magazine. And HEY, there's a cheeky "X-Men" reference (For those who don't know, "Deadpool" was briefly featured in "X-Men Origins: Wolverine," although poorly.) Every line coming out of Ryan Reynolds mouth solidifying that this isn't your regular super hero. He swears, he fucks. There is blood!
But here is the big difference. "Juno" was good. It had a heart. You cared about those quirky girls. And it was well acted.
If you look at "Bridesmades" as another barometer for "Deadpool" and its quality/Oscar chances, it simply does not hold up to that film either. And it didn't get a Best Picture nomination either. We had the same conversation then, but you also had the Melissa McCarthy factor. As funny as Ryan Reynolds and Morena Baccarin are in their funny year long sex scene, they aren't good enough elsewhere to give this film what it needs to take it to the next level. Maybe that's due to the screenplay? The director? Who knows. Reynolds gets the humor and Baccarin has the sex appeal. That's not enough.
Take "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice" as another test. This is a film people despised, right? I saw it a couple of days ago, and although it was the extended cut, which is supposedly better, I found it, in many ways to be more captivating that "Deadpool." Don't get me wrong. "Batman v Superman" is not a great film either. But it has Amy Adams and Henry Cavill and Diane Lane. Holly Hunter and Gal Gadot. I almost forgot that the story was absurd!
In terms of screenplay, I feel the heavy hand, which might work for teenage boys isn't going to cut it with middle age white guys in the Academy. With the WGA, "Moonlight" was considered Original, so that is another piece of competition for "Deadpool." And it is clear that there is love for "Nocturnal Animals" that will also give it a run for its money. And "Loving." Diminishing buzz or not, "Loving" has a MUCH better screenplay than "Deadpool."
Here is how I think Oscar will go:
Nocturnal Animals or Loving
With Best Picture...there is just too much good stuff to choose from. I'm still sticking with this, although it's hard to put "Hacksaw Ridge" in over "Fences." I hope I'm either wrong or we get 9 nominations. In reality, I don't understand the preferential ballot as well as my colleagues. I'm just going with my gut.
La La Land
Manchester By the Sea
Hell or High Water
The Academy has made some impulsive decisions this year, whether good decisions or not. I'm hoping that these decisions will result in positive, quality nominations. Not including "Deadpool."