For those of you hoping that “Man of Steel” might break through the academy’s prejudice against superheroes and score a Best Picture nomination, don’t hold your breath.
Despite its record-breaking $128 million opening weekend haul — the best in the franchise’s history — the reviews have been like Kryptonite. The reboot scored 56% at Rotten Tomatoes and 55 at Metacritic.
Sure, films like “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close” and “Crash” have survived such low scores and thrived at the Oscars but that was due to their awards cache. While Superman may have a lot of noble qualities, Oscar-baityness isn’t one of them.
That’s not to say that the film won’t factor in several tech categories.
After all, the original “Superman” (1978) received three major nominations – Film Editing (Stuart Baird), Original Score (John Williams), and Sound (Gordon K. McCallum, Graham V. Hartstone, Nicolas Le Messurier, Roy Charman) – and won a Special Achievement Award for Visual Effects (Les Bowie, Colin Chilvers, Denys N. Coop, Roy Field, Derek Meddings, Zoran Perisic). It lost its competitive bids to “The Deer Hunter” (Film Editing and Sound) and “Midnight Express” (Score).
However, it took nearly three decades for the man in the red cape to get some more Oscar recognition: the widely dismissed “Superman Returns” (2006) scored in the Visual Effects category (Mark Stetson, Neil Corbould, Richard R. Hoover, Jon Thum).
So, if there’s anywhere “Man of Steel” can find some love, it’s in Visual Effects, where it may very well win. Aside from that, the Sound categories have always tipped their hats toward superhero films. Production Design, Costume Design, and Score could also be in play.
But unless the film truly becomes a cultural phenomenon, don’t expect the kind of nominations haul bestowed upon “The Dark Knight” (2008).