If somebody had told me over twenty years ago that a comic book movie should be nominated for Best Picture, I would have pantomimed pushing up glasses and said, "Okay, my fellow nerd. That'll be the day." But 2022 is not 2000, and not one, but TWO comic book movies have already been nominated for Best Picture, with Black Panther and Joker making the cut. So, it only begs the question: Why wasn't Spider-Man: No Way Home nominated for Best Picture at the 2022 Academy Awards?
Now, I already did a similar article as this for the movie The Lighthouse, but I KNOW why that film wasn't nominated. The Lighthouse was the kind of odd-ball arthouse movie that probably wouldn’t even get nominated in a soft year. But, Spider-Man: No Way Home was immensely popular and the biggest movie of last year. Not only that, but it also did extremely well critically.
Don't get it twisted. Spider-Man: No Way Home isn't some Transformers movie that makes bank at the box office but is pretty much loathed by critics. No, millions of people loved Spider-Man: No Way Home, with some even calling it one of the best Marvel movies of all time. So, what happened? Well...
Why Spider-Man: No Way Home Should Have Been Up For Best Picture
Honestly, as a life-long comic book fan, Spider-Man: No Way Home is probably the most "comic book movie" film I've ever seen in my entire life. The story concerns alternate dimensions, and this film did what seemed like the impossible by bringing in all three cinematic Spider-Men. Oftentimes, the most powerful emotion of all is nostalgia, and any fan who grew up watching both Tobey Maguire's version of the web head, as well as Andrew Garfield's (my pick for the best Spider-Man) can tell you that seeing Tom Holland swing alongside the old heroes seemed like it was a lifetime in the making.
But, it's not just nostalgia that makes Spider-Man: No Way Home a winner. It's just an overall great movie. In fact, our very own Sean O'Connell called it his pick for the best movie of 2021. Tom Holland's Spider-Man finally has to face true consequences, and his actions dictate every event in the story. That's storytelling 101. Plus, even the old villains, like Willem Dafoe as Green Goblin and Alfred Molina as Dr. Octopus show true growth from their old film counterparts, creating a dynamic that makes you have true emotion for their ultimate outcomes. I mean, seriously. It's a really great movie!
What Else Is Up For Best Picture This Year?
This year, all ten slots are actually filled up. And, it's a really varied year to boot! We got a wonky, all-star comedy in Don't Look Up, the Japanese, three-hour long drama, Drive My Car, the off-beat critical darling "western" The Power of the Dog, the biographical Belfast, the remake that some say is even better than the original, West Side Story, and the coming-of-age comedy drama, CODA.
We also have the Guillermo del Toro remake, Nightmare Alley, the Venus and Serena Williams biographical drama about their dad, King Richard, the Paul Thomas Anderson romantic drama, Licorice Pizza, and finally, the sci-fi epic, Dune. With so many different films being up for Best Picture this year, are we really just going to believe that the biggest and most-watched movie of the year doesn't deserve to have a seat at the table?
What Spider-Man: No Way Home Did Get Nominated For
Well, Spider-Man: No Way Home got nominated for what you'd expect a comic book movie to be nominated for-technical stuff, mostly. When it comes to the Academy Awards, its sole nomination is for Best Visual Effects. That's it. No nomination for Willem Dafoe's maniacal performance, no nomination for Best Original Screenplay. No nomination even for Best Sound Mixing. Just Best Visual Effects. Okay...I see.
It was nominated elsewhere, though. The Seattle Film Critics nominated Willem Dafoe for Villain of the Year, and the London Film Critics’ Circle nominated Andrew Garfield for British/Irish Actor of the Year. (Which he won!) Rotten Tomatoes even awarded it three Golden Tomatoes, one for Best Movies of 2021, one for Best Wide Release 2021, and one for Best Comic Book Movies 2021. When it comes to the more prestigious award ceremonies, though, it was left colder than the Winter Soldier. Damn.
So, Why Didn't Spider-Man: No Way Home Get Nominated For Best Picture?
Well, probably for the very same reason I said at the start - it's one of the most "comic book movie" films ever made. And, that's not good. At least not to the Academy. Here's what I mean: Yes, Black Panther was nominated for Best Picture, but Black Panther was actually about something. Themes of the effects of Colonialism and oppression are interlaced throughout all the comic-booky stuff. And Joker, while arguably simplistic (and maybe even wrong-headed) in its depiction of mental illness, felt important, too. At least at the time.
Spider-Man: No Way Home isn't really about...anything, really. Sure, it's fun and it hits all the right notes when it comes to nostalgia, but it doesn't really have anything to say. Now, I don't personally care. I cried when I watched Avengers: Infinity War, and any film that can make me cry is better than a film that doesn’t make me cry. At least to me anyway. But the Academy voters are still pretty silly when it comes to what they deem to be prestige films. Should Spider-Man: No Way Home be nominated for Best Picture? Well, honestly, it wasn't even my favorite Marvel movie of last year.
But, in regards to the movie that probably meant the most to the most amount of people last year, then yeah, I think it should have been nominated. I mean, Avatar was nominated for Best Picture, and that movie is pretty much just Dances With Wolves meets FernGully. Oh, well. Maybe this year with Dr. Strange in the Multiverse of Madness or Thor: Love and Thunder we’ll see another comic book movie get nominated for Best Picture. Who knows?
What do you think? Should Spider-Man: No Way Home have been nominated for Best Picture? For news on Spider-Man or other great movies, make sure to swing by here often!
Your Daily Blend of Entertainment News
Rich is a Jersey boy, through and through. He graduated from Rutgers University (Go, R.U.!), and thinks the Garden State is the best state in the country. That said, he’ll take Chicago Deep Dish pizza over a New York slice any day of the week. Don’t hate. When he’s not watching his two kids, he’s usually working on a novel, watching vintage movies, or reading some obscure book.