2018 is half over, and with fall only two months away, the biggest time of the year for movies is just around the corner. That's right, Oscar season is nearly upon the world, and the prestige movie trailers are beginning to drop from the heavens. But what about films that arrived in the first half of the year, especially the big tentpole blockbusters? Don't they deserve a little bit of Oscar love too? They do, which is why I've put together this little list of superhero movies that deserve Oscars in 2018.
This list is inspired by Marvel testing the waters for the first time for the big dance. Speaking to Vox recently, Marvel Cinematic Universe CEO Kevin Feige suggested he's really serious about putting together an Oscar campaign for Black Panther.
I think it would be a wonderful thing for Panther and for our production designer Hannah [Beachler], and our costume designer Ruth [Carter], and for Ryan [Coogler] who co-wrote the script with Joe Robert Cole, and of course directed the movie. And Michael B. Jordan, and Chadwick [Boseman] and Lupita [Nyong’o] and Letitia [Wright]. There’s amazing performances, amazing artistry in that. I’d love to see them recognized, and I’d love to see this genre recognized.
So in the spirit of recognizing the genre, let's run down the Oscar nominations deserved by all five major superhero blockbusters that have come out so far.
Ant-Man & The Wasp
Ant-Man & the Wasp isn't sexy like some Marvel films. It's a down to earth family film about a couple who work together. It's not grandiose like Infinity War, it's not groundbreaking like Black Panther. But it does have one secret weapon: Michael Peña, who was the best thing about the original film. (Sorry, Paul Rudd.)
In this sequel film, he's back and speed-talking his way through every last hilarious scene he's in. If there's one award that should get Ant-Man a nomination it's Best Supporting Actor to Michael Peña.
The Incredibles 2
The superhero genre generally de-emphasizes traditional family units, but Incredibles 2 proves you don't have to stop being a super-hero just because you get married and have kids. (Hear that Tony Stark?)
The moral of the original “The Incredibles” was that growing up doesn’t mean you have to stop doing what you love, and the sequel doubles down. It is also the most delightful animated film of 2018 so far. Pixar has a long track record of Best Animated Film nominations, and there is absolutely no reason this film shouldn't continue that tradition.
The original Deadpool worked not because it was a great stand-alone movie, but because it was great satire, and like Spaceballs or a Weird Al song in that it requires most of the audience to be familiar with the Marvel superhero tropes it's constantly mocking. In order to do that, however, it then has to stick by those tropes.
But Deadpool 2 goes father, turning the idea of the movie into a family film, complete with Celine Dion powerhouse number. If this film deserves one Oscar it's for Best Original Song so Celine can do her thing on the Oscar stage where she belongs.
Avengers: Infinity War
A tragedy is a story based around a character with a fatal flaw. But what happens when you have a movie with no less than 22 lead characters, all of which have the same fatal flaw? That's the premise of Avengers: Infinity War. None of our heroes can bring themselves to allow other members of the team to be hurt in order to stop a catastrophic ending. This is why they failed while Thanos succeeded. He was willing to sacrifice while they were not.
But the Oscar nomination goes to one character in particular: Tom Holland, who stole the entire movie out from under a million A-List costars with a single line: "Mr. Stark, I don't feel so good." Not only does he deserve the nomination, but the win as well.
Gods, where do we even start? There's Chadwick Boseman for Best Actor for his role as T'Challa. There's Michael B. Jordan for Best Actor for the deepest villain role Marvel has ever imagined. There's Best Supporting Actress for Letitia Wright for Shuri and Danai Gurira for Okoye. Plus Best Supporting Nods for Forrest Whitaker and Sterling K. Brown for scene-stealing for Zuri and N'Jobu respectively.
Also? Best Picture. If there was ever a case where the extra Best Picture nods put into play a few years ago to encompass non-prestige films, this was it. Black Panther deserves an Oscar campaign like no other Marvel film before it, and I hope Kevin Feige goes all out.