×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

‘Deadpool’s’ Cinderella Shot

It’s 'the little big movie that could,' but does it have a chance to vie for Oscar’s big prize?

Nearly every industry group and guild has weighed in with nominations, and, no surprise, the most dominant film is “La La Land.” The musical has been nominated by 10 groups — every single one except the Visual Effects Society (an understandable omission).

“Arrival” and “Manchester by the Sea” are also strong, with seven mentions. Fellow best-picture contenders “Hacksaw Ridge,” “Lion,” and “Moonlight” are also in the thick of it.

One film that has been stunningly resilient alongside these Oscar powerhouses is “Deadpool,” Fox’s irreverent comic-book adaptation that opened nearly a year ago and made a big splash with $783 million in worldwide box office. It’s been nominated by the Producers Guild, Writers Guild, American Cinema Editors, Makeup and Hair Stylists Guild, and the Visual Effects Society. Tim Miller even picked up a first-time director nomination from the Directors Guild, edging out critically acclaimed debuts like “Krisha” and “The Witch.”

All of that industry love, combined with Golden Globes recognition, have many pondering whether “Deadpool” has a chance in the Academy’s best picture race. But let’s take a few steps back.

There have been mitigating factors along the way, like how ineligibilities rendered the WGA’s adapted-screenplay category an absolute wasteland, and the fact that if anyone is going to worship at the altar of box office success, it’s the producers. (Though the ongoing narrative that “Deadpool” took more than a decade to come together and was made for a fraction of the budget of most superhero movies didn’t hurt.)

But that’s not to take away from the movie’s success on the circuit. It’s quite a Cinderella story, the “little big movie that could,” as star and producer Ryan Reynolds puts it.

“We were recently thinking back to those emails when we were cracking the story in a sweaty New Orleans hotel room,” Reynolds says. “Even when we made the film, the expectations were quite low. And any time there’s been anything campaign-oriented, it’s mostly been tongue-in-cheek. In terms of the push for awards and awards attention, we’ve been pretty quiet about it, other than just showing up.”

That has made the industry reaction all the sweeter, as it feels pure rather than manipulated. But Fox has certainly put in some legwork maneuvering the film into this position, with a series of Q&As throughout the season, and pitches to keep it on the radar, like Reynolds’ Entertainer of the Year prize at the Critics’ Choice Awards. A GQ Man of the Year designation was part of the recipe, too, along with his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, which Reynolds received in December — a bit of classic Tinseltown pageantry that has been increasingly leveraged for awards-season exposure.

“We never wanted to over-campaign it, because it’s not in the spirit of what the property is,” one studio source tells me. “It’s been the anti-campaign campaign.”

A wave of advertising is on the way, pegged specifically to the film’s guild recognition, as Oscar ballots were due last week. But everything at this stage is really just a cherry on top of an unlikely success story.

Here’s a question, though: Will the meta-character address all this adulation in the film’s sequel? “I don’t know that he’ll talk about awards season, but maybe something about how great the year has been,” Reynolds says. “Maybe Deadpool will have, like, 20% more self-loathing because of it.”

More Film

  • Lisa Borders Time's Up

    Time's Up President Lisa Borders Resigns

    Lisa Borders has resigned as president of Time’s Up, she and the organization announced on Monday. Borders is resigning due to family issues, she said in a statement. Time’s Up COO Rebecca Goldman will now serve as interim CEO. “As Time’s Up continues to grow, I am proud of the work I have done to [...]

  • Keira Knightly as "Rachael Morgan" in

    Film Review: Keira Knightley in 'The Aftermath'

    Less widely seen (and acclaimed) than it deserved to be, James Kent’s debut feature “Testament of Youth” was one of the great recent love-in-wartime dramas, translating the intimate romance and sprawling human tragedy of Vera Brittain’s WWI memoir with a grace and heft worthy of its David Lean allusions. Four years on, it’s not hard [...]

  • Inside Amazon's New Feature Film Strategy

    Amazon's New Film Strategy: Straight-to-Service Titles and Starry Sundance Buys

    It was close to midnight when Amazon Studios chief Jennifer Salke got the text. The company had failed in its quest to acquire “Brittany Runs a Marathon,” a body image dramedy that captivated Salke when she saw it at Sundance. A sales agent on the project messaged her to say that a competitor offered a [...]

  • Alfonso Cuaron71st Annual Writers Guild Awards,

    Alfonso Cuarón on Academy's 'Inevitable' Reversal on Televised Oscar Categories

    Alfonso Cuarón isn’t exactly surprised that the Academy reversed its decision and will now air all the Oscar categories during the live show on Sunday. Feb. 24. Calling the decision “inevitable,”Cuarón tells Variety that he thinks the Academy should take things even further. “Let’s stop calling them technical categories!” he told Variety on Sunday night [...]

  • TorinoFilmLab Announces Selections for 2019 ScriptLab

    TorinoFilmLab Announces Selections for 2019 ScriptLab (EXCLUSIVE)

    The TorinoFilmLab has announced the 20 feature projects and five story editor trainees who have been selected to take part in the 2019 edition of ScriptLab, an initiative focused on the development of fiction feature film scripts in early development stage. Beginning in March, this year’s participants will team up with filmmakers from around the [...]

  • Alita Battle Angel

    North American Box Office Declines From Last Year With Weak Presidents Day Weekend

    “Alita: Battle Angel” easily won a tepid Presidents Day weekend with a $34.2 million at 3,790 North American locations, estimates showed Monday. Overall domestic moviegoing for 2019 has plunged 22.1% to $1.24 billion as of Monday, according to Comscore. That’s $350 million below the same date a year ago and the lowest figure at this [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content