For those who haven’t seen the 2018 Writer’s Guild Of America Awards (WGAA’s) were announced earlier today, and included a welcome nod to Logan in the Best Adapted Screenplay category. Which begs the question, is Logan worthy of a shot at not only the WGAA’s, but at the Oscars and wider award season?
Coming at a time of Superhero saturation, Logan (Following on from the example shown by Deadpool) showed that it was okay to make a superhero movie that didn’t follow the conventional formula. Instead of being considered a mature film simply for the blood, gore and sex jokes that ran rampant through the 2016 surprise hit Deadpool, James Mangold crafted a story that dealt with difficult issues which affect millions of people in the real world. No, none of us have to deal with rampaging mutants and secret organisations hunting us down, but there are countless people out there who have to deal with the loss of loved ones, the deterioration of the human brain that comes with age and the love you feel as a parent or guardian. These were the tent-poles of Marigold’s story and the rousing success of the film show that they resonated not only with critics, but with the larger general audience of movie-goers.
So it’s safe to say that the work of Scott Frank, James Mangold and Michael Green has more than earned its place among nominees for Best Adapted Screenplay. But is that where it ends for Logan? Or could we be looking at a dark horse for further Oscar contention?
I would argue, yes.
If you consider a screenplay to be the foundations of a house, then it is the direction and work of the actors on screen which determine the beauty and strength of the house itself. Logan’s screenplay may not have been so well received if not for the portrayal of the main characters whose lives we followed for nearly 2 and a half hours in cinemas around the world. I said it at the time of the movie’s release and I stand by it to this day, Sir Patrick Stewart deserves an Oscar nomination for his portrayal of the ageing Professor Xavier. His depiction of a man who was slowly losing his mind, whilst maintaining the loving and caring qualities of the man we’d known from previous X-Men installments was deeply moving. A Best Supporting Actor nomination would be, to many, a well deserved recognition of Sir Patrick Stewart’s work in the film and a fitting way to end his time playing the ever-present Professor X.
So if we move forward accepting that both the screenplay and Sir Patrick Stewart deserve Oscar nods, is too far to argue that the glue holding it all together, James Mangold’s direction, does not deserve to be recognized also? It is perhaps the hardest of the 3 to argue for, purely down to the level of quality competition that Mangold would be up against. With only five nomination slots being available it is an incredibly tough list to break on to. But if the Academy were to announce James Mangold’s inclusion, I would find it hard to argue it isn’t deserved.
Whether or not Logan would win the aforementioned Oscars is a different story. But being included in the nominees is a prize enough in itself, and even more so when it comes to a genre of film that the Academy often turn their noses up at.
So kudos to Logan and all involved for kicking off the Academy season strong, here’s to further success in the near future.