First, it was two Golden Globes nominations for Deadpool: one for Ryan Reynolds; and one for Best Motion Picture. But we all kind of chuckled, and said, "It's the Globes! They like to try to be different. Also, it's a Musical/Comedy category! Deadpool should qualify." Then, more nominations came. American Cinema Editors. Broadcast Film Critics Association's Critics' Choice Awards (where it won Best Comedy). And those of us who track the ongoing Oscar race thought, "Is this possible?" Today, the conversation turned serious. Deadpool earned a Writers Guild Award nomination in the Adapted Screenplay category. And an Oscar nomination now seems possible -- even probable.
The February release, a smash hit for 2016, cast Ryan Reynolds as mercenary with a foul mouth, Wade Wilson, who is transformed into the anti-hero Deadpool after undertaking an experimental surgery to try and cure his cancer. Now that he's indestructible, Deadpool goes after the villains who turned him into a monster, all to protect the love of his life. Deadpool co-writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick today joined the ranks of the Oscar contenders when it nabbed a WGA nomination. Here's the complete list of 2017 nominees:
Hell or High Water, Written by Taylor Sheridan; CBS Films
La La Land, Written by Damien Chazelle; Lionsgate
Loving, Written by Jeff Nichols; Focus Features
Manchester by the Sea, Written by Kenneth Lonergan; Amazon Studios/Roadside Attractions
Moonlight, Written by Barry Jenkins, Story by Tarell McCraney; A24
Arrival, Screenplay by Eric Heisserer; Based on the Story "Story of Your Life" by Ted Chiang; Paramount Pictures
Deadpool, Written by Rhett Reese & Paul Wernick; Based on the X-Men Comic Books; Twentieth Century Fox Film
Fences, Screenplay by August Wilson; Based on his Play; Paramount Pictures
Hidden Figures, Screenplay by Allison Schroeder and Theodore Melfi; Based on the Book by Margot Lee Shetterly; Twentieth Century Fox Film
Nocturnal Animals, Screenplay by Tom Ford; Based on the Novel Tony and Susan by Austin Wright; Focus Features
Most of the titles could be call "expected." These are prestige pictures that have been groomed to contend for year-end awards. Fences, for example, already earned a Pulitzer Prize for Drama and a Tony Award for Best Play for playwright August Wilson. Deadpool is based on a comic book. It's a comedy. It's a bloody, lethal superhero movie. It's 95% dick jokes.
But there it is, contending for a Writers' Guild award.
Could the Oscars be next? Nothing's impossible. The WGA nominations frequently predict what the Academy is going to recognize in the Adapted and Original Screenplay categories. And in a recent conversation with Variety, Ryan Reynolds did talk about how the superhero genre -- thanks to movies like Captain America: Civil War and the upcoming Logan -- are changing how the superhero genre is perceived in the industry. No longer are these empty blockbuster tentpole movies. They are respected works with screenplays that deserve recognition. They deserve accolades. They deserve industry esteem. And they are starting to get it.
Deadpool may not win at the WGAs. The competition is stiff. But in this case, the nomination itself is a major win... one that can only grow more significant if the Oscars follow suite in a few weeks (as I actually predict they will).