Arriving too early to the party is what left many thinking that Hugh Jackman’s last hurrah as Wolverine is what sealed the Oscar fate of Logan back in March. Typically, films released that early in the year are long forgotten by the time Academy voters make their decisions come awards season. Now it seems as though Logan could be rewarded for it punctuality.
Deadline reported Thursday that the For Your Consideration screener for Logan was the first to be sent out — a yearly competition among Academy campaigners. Recent reports of 20th Century Fox shifting its Oscar efforts towards War for the Planet of the Apes, released in July, is what made fans and pundits alike shut the book on any Academy chances Logan might have had.
And who can blame them? For one, it’s a long year and early releases tend to not get as much love when it’s time to hand out statues. The more “recent films” to do it would be Erin Brockovich in 2000 and The Grand Budapest Hotel in 2014, but these instances are considered rare. Another obstacle in the path of Logan is the slate of films for 20th Century Fox. With Steven Spielberg’s The Post featuring Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep come December, that alone should get plenty of Academy attention. Then there’s The Mountain Between Us in October and Kenneth Branagh’s all-star cast in Murder on the Orient in November. This is considered to be Fox’s biggest Oscar-potential slate in years and studios only have so much money when it comes to marketing/campaigning.
This is all without mentioning that Jackman could even get in his own way with the Christmas release of The Greatest Showman where he will portray P.T. Barnum.
With plenty in it’s path, that’s not to say that Logan doesn’t have some positives in its corner. A 93 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, one of the best reviewed films of the year so far, doesn’t hurt it. A serious and groundbreaking attempt at a superhero film has been rewarded before to some extent (2008’s The Dark Knight). Director James Mangold does have Academy experience with Walk the Line back in 2006. But more importantly, the Academy has been making a recent push to stay current and appeal to a younger demographic — the gritty western in Logan has what traditional voters may enjoy, while the superhero aspect plays into what is popular today.
Even if a Best Picture nom isn’t in the cards, both Jackman and Patrick Stewart could end up getting noticed for lead and supporting actor — namely the latter for Stewart — and then there’s the case of sound mixing/sound editing which would also be a well deserved nomination.
Only time will tell in a race that is just getting started.
Logan is directed by James Mangold and stars Hugh Jackman as Logan/Wolverine, Patrick Stewart as Charles Xavier (Professor X), Boyd Holbrook as Donald Pierce, Stephen Merchant as Caliban, Richard E. Grant as Dr. Zander Rice, Dafne Keen as Laura Kinney (X-23).