It's rare that comic book movies earn Oscar nominations outside of the technical categories, so the few times that one of these blockbusters has received recognition in the acting, directing and/or writing categories, it's been a welcome surprise. Yesterday Logan earned such an honor, as it was nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay for the 90th Academy Awards. Director James Mangold is well aware of how rarely comic book movies earn these kinds of nominations, and when asked why be believes Logan is one of the exceptions, he noted that the third Wolverine film benefitted from not trying to be another expensive and explosion-filled spectacle like most superhero movies. As Mangold sees it:
On this film, we really focused on doing something different: a dramatic and character-driven film rather than trying to compete in the arms race of comic-book films... 'I can spend more than you, I can blow up more than you.' We wanted to make a film that operated on the character engine and emotion. I've been really gratified by the way fans have embraced the movie.
While Logan certainly stands as a triumph on its own, earning numerous positive reviews and making over $616 million worldwide off a $97 million budget, James Mangold made sure to also note beforehand in his interview with The Los Angeles Times that other filmmakers helped pave the way with their comic book adaptations and may not have gotten recognition, but opened people's minds to the "possibility of risk and creative invention" in this particular genre. So along with everything else it had going for it, it sounds like Logan also had the fortunate at arriving at just the right time.
In recent years, certain superhero movies have taken steps to distinguish themselves from the competition, usually by mixing the superhero elements with another genre. For Logan, that meant telling a Taylor Sheridan-like Western story that was smaller in scale from the previous X-Men and Wolverine movies so that it could spend more time on character development. That creative decision paid off, delivering an emotional conclusion not just to Hugh Jackman's tenure as Wolverine, but also Patrick Stewart's time as Professor X. The X-Men movies have varied between hit and miss since the franchise launched in 2000, but there's no question that Logan stands as one of its greatest successes, and this Oscar nomination is yet another entry on its list of achievements.
Logan's competition in the Best Adapted Screenplay category includes Call Me By Your Name, The Disaster Artist, Molly's Game and Mudbound. We'll find out what the winner is when the 90th Academy Awards air on Sunday, March 4 at 5 p.m. PST on ABC. As for what's coming up in the X-Men franchise, head to our release guide for that information.