Since its May release, Wonder Woman has been defying all odds en route to a mammoth $781 million intake at the global box office. Its opening weekend marked the highest grossing debut for a woman director, and the film has held steady at the box office in a way superhero moves almost never do. Its next great challenge will come this fall, when awards season officially gets underway. Comic book movies are rarely in the hunt for major hardware, but Warner Bros. is hoping that Wonder Woman can shatter one more glass ceiling.
The studio is in the midst of planning a major Oscar campaign that would position Wonder Woman for Best Picture and Patty Jenkins for Best Director, Variety reports. While no superhero movie has ever earned a Best Picture nod from the Academy, Warner Bros. is hoping that this year’s voting body, which is much younger than years past, might consider something beyond the realm of typical Oscar fare.
Ironically, it’s the way in which Wonder Woman leans into certain Oscar tropes-from its World War I backdrop to its aspirational messaging-that could ultimately earn it a nomination. In past years, both The Dark Knight and Deadpool were discussed as potential Best Picture contenders, but both films operated way beyond the sphere of what voters traditionally deem “Oscar-worthy.” That’s not the case with Wonder Woman, which has much more in common with classic Hollywood romances or sweeping epics than it does its superhero counterparts.
Wonder Woman could also gain traction as an Oscar contender because of what a nomination might mean symbolically. The Academy is a notoriously archaic institution and has been slow to adjust with the times (please see #oscarssowhite). Nominating a movie led by a woman superhero and directed by a woman aueteur would send a strong message that Hollywood is finally starting to get with the program.
One thing that could hurt Wonder Woman’s chances come fall is the upcoming superhero mash-up Justice League. DC doesn’t exactly have the best track record when it comes to these things, and any kind of toxic association could tarnish Wonder Woman’s shimmering brand. But if we’ve learned one thing this past year, it’s to never bet against Diana Prince.