OSCARS ASSEMBLE1 of 12Over the weekend, the American Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences hosted the 89th annual Oscars ceremony, distributing the highest American film awards of 2017.
Perhaps you heard something about the ceremony on social media today?
Some comic book movies were represented in the awards - namely Suicide Squad winning for the Best Make-Up Effects - but as usual, most of the movies that really rocked our world failed to make the cut of the nominees.
But superhero and comic book movies are a dominant force in pop culture, so shouldn't there be awards that recognize those accomplishments?
Newsarama has taken it on ourselves to dole out Oscars from an approximation of the ten biggest categories. And we haven't just stuck to movies from 2017, we're going all the way back to 2000's X-Men, and giving out what we've dubbed the "Modern Comic Book Movie Oscars."
Now we know we're giving some comic book films, like Road to Perdition, American Splendor, Ghost World and a A History of Violence the short shrift here, but we wanted to focus in on the type of film we cover the most.
Best Score2 of 12The Nominees:
Nigel Godrich - Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World
Hans Zimmer - The Dark Knight
Danny Elfman - Spider-Man
Hans Zimmer - Man of Steel
Alan Silvestri - Avengers
And the Oscar goes to: Hans Zimmer - The Dark Knight.
Hans Zimmer's score for The Dark Knight was both heroic and haunting, not only perfectly capturing the spirit of Batman and Gotham City, but pushing the boundaries of cinematic scores in general.
Anchored buy an eerie and atonal theme for Heath Ledger's Joker, which was reportedly recorded in a parking garage, and incorporated the sound of a piano being demolished, Zimmer's score remains the modern standard for comic book movie scores.
Best Visual Effects3 of 12The Nominees:
Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World
Guardians of the Galaxy
And the Oscar goes to: Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World
Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World is more of a cult hit than anything, but its visual language perfectly captured creator Bryan Lee O'Malley's caroonish, 8-bit-inspired style in the flesh.
Though it isn't quite as flashy as some of the more explosive nominees, Scott Pilgrim mastered the oft-tried-but-rarely-successful art of translating the more abstract aspects of comic book art - such as sound effects and panel transitions - and brought them to life in a style that homaged not just sequential art, but classic video games.
Best Costume Design4 of 12The Nominees:
Avengers: Age of Ultron
The Dark Knight
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
And the Oscar goes to: Hellboy
Guillermo del Toro's Hellboy is a visual tour de force - particularly the look of its two leads, Hellboy and Abe Sapien.
The pair's nicknames of "blue" and "red" informed the entire production's visuals, making Hellboy's costume design an extension of the overall look of the movie.
The costumes of Hellboy incorporated both practical effects and digital features to make monstrous characters with endless personality that bounced off the screen.
Best Screenplay5 of 12The Nominees
Rhett Reese & Paul Wernick - Deadpool
Mark Fegus, Hawk Ostby, Art Marcum, and Matt Holloway - Iron Man
Nicole Perlman & James Gunn - Guardians of the Galaxy
Christopher Nolan, Jonathan Nolan, & David S. Goyer - The Dark Knight
Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely - Captain America: The Winter Soldier
And the Oscar goes to: Rhett Reese & Paul Wernick - Deadpool
Deadpool could be considered "the little screenplay that could," floating around Hollywood for nearly a decade before finally coming to fruition based, in large part, on the quality of the leaked script and leaked test footage.
Yes, much of Deadpool's humor came from the improvisation of its stars, but nonetheless, Reese and Wernick were able to craft a story that jam-packed with spectacle despite being small in scale, and which managed to subvert the typical superhero movie tropes while also embracing them.
Best Actress in a Supporting Rose6 of 12The Nominees:
Gal Gadot - Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
Tilda Swinton - Doctor Strange
Helen Mirren - Red
Amy Adams - Man of Steel
Lena Headey - 300
And the Oscar goes to: Lena Headey - 300
Lena Headey is a secret weapon in a movie full of secret weapons. 300 remains the best example of Zack Snyder's signature style, and Lena Headey's Queen Gorgo is the best example of the matriarchal archetype that lies at the heart of many of his films.
Headey is something of a dark horse candidate, but the subtle strength and unshakable pride of her performance give her the nod.
Best Actor in a Supporting Rose7 of 12The Nominees:
Gary Oldman - The Dark Knight
Tom Hiddleston - Marvel’s Avengers
Michael Pena - Ant-Man
Bradley Cooper - Guardians of the Galaxy
Heath Ledger - The Dark Knight
And the Oscar goes to: Heath Ledger - The Dark Knight
Who are we to argue with the Academy? Ledger's posthumous Best Supporting Actor award remains one of the highest honors yet bestowed upon a comic book movie - and one of the most deserved.
It's largely due to Ledger's performance that the already masterful Dark Knight remains one of the most well-regarded superhero movies ever. His cult of personality has little hope of being matched in the genre.
Of course, sticking with established tradition led to Ledger edging out his co-star Gary Oldman for our award - an unfortunate biproduct of a cast that was truly an embarrassment of riches.
Best Actress In a Leading Rose8 of 12The Nominees:
Scarlet Johansson – Captain America: Winter Soldier
Zoe Saldana – Guardians of the Galaxy
Chloe Moretz – Kickass
Margot Robbie – Suicide Squad
Jennifer Lawrence – X-Men: First Class
And the Oscar goes to: Margot Robbie - Suicide Squad
To say this isn't a weighted category for comic book movies would be dodging the fact that women are woefully underrepresented in leading roles for comic book films. With this summer's Wonder Woman the first major modern comic book movie with a female headliner in over a decade, there aren't a lot of marquee roles.
However, that doesn't mean there haven't been some stellar performances from the women who have reached the spotlight.
Say what you will about Suicide Squad as a whole, but Margot Robbie's Harley Queen certainly earned her place as the face of the franchise, especially considering the script and "MIstah J" she had to work with.
Robbie's performance was eminently watchable, even in the mire of editing issues and story problems that weighed down her starring vehicle. Robbie captured the madcap energy of the fan-favorite character, while still managing to ramp up expectations with a malicious streak a notch above many of her comic book appearances.
Best Actor In a Leading Rose9 of 12The Nominees:
Hugh Jackman - X-Men: Days of Future Past
Robert Downey, Jr. - Iron Man
Chris Evans - Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Christian Bale - Batman Begins
Chris Pratt - Guardians of the Galaxy
And the Oscar goes to: Hugh Jackman - X-Men: Days of Future Past
Hugh Jackman defined the modern superhero leading man. Robert Downey, Jr. may have changed the game almost a decade after Jackman's first turn as Wolverine, but it's Jackman's performance that has truly carried the X-Men franchise and which defined our expectations of big screen superheroes.
Jackman's peak as the Canadian mutant came in X-Men: Days of Future Past, where Wolverine's pathos collided with his berserker rage in what may have been the darkest moment the cinematic X-Men have experienced yet.
Jackman's impending retirement as Wolverine has fans scratching their heads as to how 20th Century Fox will replace him - or if they'll even try. But we've seen Logan, his final solo outing, and we can tell you - he's leaving on a hell of a high note.
Best Director10 of 12The Nominees:
Christopher Nolan – The Dark Knight
James Gunn – Guardians of the Galaxy
Jon Favreau – Iron Man
Joss Whedon - Avengers
Edgar Wright – Scott Pilgrim
And the Oscar goes to: James Gunn - Guardians of the Galaxy
Guardians of the Galaxy has everything going for it, from fantastic performances, to a great script, and that soundtrack... But the fact is, almost none of these elements would have come together as they did without the guidance of director James Gunn.
There's no denying the power of Marvel's movie machine, but it's Gunn's vision that turned a D-List pseudo-sci-fi property into a household name. Gunn's masterful grasp of action, humor, and heart, and his eye for finding humanity in the most absurd situations are the master key to unlocking Guardians of the Galaxy's continued success.
Best Picture11 of 12The Nominees:
The Dark Knight
Guardians of the Galaxy
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
And the Oscar goes to: Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Joe and Anthony Russo's modern superhero masterpiece is the film most likely to define the next generation of comic book movies. A taut political thriller that works even without costumes, but doesn't shy away from its comic book roots, The Winter Soldier represents almost everything a comic book fan could want in a big screen adaptation.
While it's unlikely the Russos will ever duplicate the thriller-level intimacy of The Winter Soldier, it makes perfect sense that the Russos have become the shepherds of the future of the Marvel movies.
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