Don’t Roll Your Eyes
The Oscars happened and Wonder Woman wasn’t even nominated. Let’s vent a little, but justify it.
Sure, it wasn’t The Shape of Water, but there were still many reasons why this phenomenal film should have received some recognition. Okay, you might be skeptical, thinking that comic book movies would never be considered serious enough to win any awards, but we’re going to make an argument here for WW. For starters, the film was groundbreaking. It garnered praise for both the cast and the story, and it proved that female superheroes can be box office successes.
There Would Have Been Controversy
Although many would cheer if Wonder Woman had been nominated, it still would have been very controversial. For one thing, people would question if it was nominated for its merits or because it was a popular movie that featured a woman in the leading role. We get it.
Any nomination for a comic book movie will be controversial, but remember when Heath Ledger made history by winning posthumously for his performance in The Dark Knight? Even with that unforgettable performance, folks still questioned whether or not he won because he had tragically died. No, it was because he was amazing.
Sadly, no one gives credit to how remarkable Patty Jenkins’ choices were when directing Wonder Woman, and how that led to it being such a hit. She demonstrated a marvelous understanding of the use of slow motion filming. Remember the battle scene on the beaches of Thymsciria? It resembled actual panels of a comic book! Jenkins payed consistent tribute to the source material for the film, and was always true to the traditional story of Wonder Woman.
It must also be noted that the camera angles and shots used did not seek to sexualize Diana during the film. They rather served to enforce her power and strength, and this is something that any other director might have ignored or been insensitive to. Because of this, Jenkins created a powerful movie that is unlike any other in the genre.
Also, consider the remarkable contrasts that Jenkins brings to life. We first see Diana in a bright, female world on the island of Amazons, and then she is transported to the war-torn world of men in WWI London. It’s dark and grimy, and the streets are dirty and littered with people wearing black and grey. All throughout the film, Jenkins has a unique and clear sense of her characters, and the world in which they come to life.
Gal Gadot is a force to be reckoned with in this film. She had portrayed Wonder Woman once before in Batman V. Superman. Most people don’t realize it, but Wonder Woman is a remarkably complex character with many traits. She’s a warrior, but she’s also a diplomat, a peacekeeper, and a kind of divine figure. No one will argue that Gadot didn’t bring all of this to life and so much more.
Any other actress might easily come across as self-righteous, or even worse, just a sex symbol. Gadot brought a human element to WW, even when surrounded by an fictional Amazon society. Gadot also shifted effortlessly from being a born warrior to being a woman who is a fish out of water. She was humorous, lighthearted, and nuanced. These may seem like subtle things, but they were a big part of the reason why the film was such a success.
Not only did Gadot have all these traits, but she also brought a profound depth to the character. Compassion was on display. We’ll never forget that pain that she expressed when seeing the soldiers returning from war. We sympathized with her, and we were able to see the perils of war through her eyes, and with her heart.
What Nominations Would Have Done For Wonder Woman
If you didn’t get the memo, this has been an interesting year for women, and Wonder Woman had a huge influence on our culture, as well. It broke records for female-directed films, was the biggest success of the DCEU, and proved that a female can succeed in an action movie.
So in essence the argument is this: Wonder Woman should have had a few nods. Not because it was a female-centric movie in a female-centric year, but because it was created with great nuance and skill. The movie changed the way that we see female superheroes, and opened up doors for future innovation and creativity. And there’s nothing trivial about that.