Haters, Marvel fanboys and otherwise, needn’t worry. It’s very unlikely Wonder Woman will get nominated, much less win, Best Picture at the upcoming Academy Awards. But you should want it to. Seriously, you should because even a mere nomination would send a message that genre movies are as much a part of the American psyche as the boring, forgettable, tedious dribble paraded in front of us each year as the best of the best. Personally, I would rather see Wonder Woman win a Golden Globe or a People’s Choice award because the former isn’t nearly the stuffy event the Oscars are and the latter is actually voted on by the movie going public, making winners better reflections of current trends in cinema. With the Oscars, the right people NEVER win and popular movies are generally shunned.
And don’t lecture me about quality, a term that is largely subjective. With the ulimate decision on who wins and loses in the hands of a relatively small body of industry insiders, the Academy is essentially saying ‘FUCK YOU! We have better taste” to the general public.
So what does the Academy’s taste in films usual consist of? Hollywood, at least the people pulling the strings, are mostly white males. Now, there’s nothing wrong with being a white male. I happen to be one. But this lack of diversity at the top of the food chain in tinseltown has led to some pretty safe and bland film selections for their award over the years.
Consider these stats from the 2015 Hollywood Diversity Report:
Film studio heads were 94% white and 100% male.
Film studio senior management was 92% white and 83% male.
Film studio unit heads were 96% white and 61% male.
That helps explain why only 7% of movies in 2016 were directed by women.
The discrimination against women in the industry is so blatant that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the watchdog federal agency that upholds the laws against just such discrimination, is calling studios out for it and may be taking them to court. According to Deadline.com, the investigation into discriminatory hiring practices against female directors started in 2015 and has now reached the settlement phase. Charges against the major studios only become public if the EEOC can’t resolve the issues and has to file suit.
A nod to Wonder Woman would turn all that on it’s head because not only was it directed by a woman and not only did it star a women, Wonder Woman has dispelled all doubts that a woman can lead the box office. It’s cultural impact among women and girls has been widely reported and unprecedented. But it wasn’t just females powering the movie. As pointed out by Variety, Wonder Woman’s audiences weren’t typical superhero movie audiences. It’s the only superhero film to have an even number of women and men watching. And here’s the good thing: You don’t have to have liked this film to want to see it succeed, especially if you believe the the Academy snubs superhero and science fiction films. By all measures, most think Wonder Woman is an action-packed, funny, feminist film. But even if YOU think it was a “snooze-fest,” as some detractors contend, that means it would fit right in with most other films the Academy has recognized over the years.
The Academy Awards is battered and bruised after 2016’s #OscarsSoWhite campaign. If Wonder Woman doesn’t get some recognition beyond obligatory SFX and soundtrack categories, the next twitter campaign against them could be even more sweeping. Hell hath no fury like a #wonderwomanscorned.