Which Superhero Movies Would Have Won An Oscar Had The "Popular" Category Existed Over The Past Decade?

Which Superhero Movies Would Have Won An Oscar Had The "Popular" Category Existed Over The Past Decade?

The Academy has revealed plans for a new category which will reward "popular" movies (a.k.a. blockbusters) but had that category existed over the past decade, which comic book adaptations might have won?

Last week, the Academy announced that next year's Oscars will include a new category for the best "Popular" movies and the response has not been good. Some pretentious film snobs see the decision as devaluing the awards show, while others see it for what it is: a way to humour moviegoers by including blockbusters without compromising the closed off "Best Picture" category for voters. 

It essentially means that superhero and sci-fi movies will forever be locked out of "Best Picture" so the Academy won't have to bow to pressure to nominate the likes of Star Wars and Black Panther. 

However, what if this category had existed since The Dark Knight was released back in 2008? That movie was supposed to change the awards but ultimately didn't so we're taking a look at every superhero adaptation released between then and now to figure out which of them would have walked away with this prize. We think you'll be surprised so click on the "View List" button to take a look.

2008 - The Dark Knight

The Dark Knight is the movie which made the Academy reconsider their approach to the "Best Picture" category, hence why they expanded it to include more releases (which many ultimately mistakenly believed would mean that acclaimed blockbusters would finally get some much-needed attention). 

Regardless, while there's no denying that Iron Man is an amazing movie and the best Marvel Comics adaptation to come along since Spider-Man 2, The Dark Knight was on a completely different level and given the way critics responded to it at the time, it would have easily walked away with this prize.


2009 - Watchmen

Remember the days when a year would pass without a Marvel Studios movie? In 2009, we got nothing but Fox did release X-Men Origins: Wolverine, a critically panned spinoff for the popular X-Men character which wasn't even popular with comic book fans, never mind voters in the Academy! 

There was also nothing from DC as such but we did get Watchmen, a movie which critics mostly liked but moviegoers failed to connect with (it appears as if it simply too dense and complicated). Personally, I think the movie is a near-masterpiece and would have loved to see it walk away with this "honour."


2010 - N/A

2010 was not a good year for superhero movies. We had nothing from DC and both Fox and Sony also failed to get in on the action. As a result, Iron Man 2 was the only release to hit theaters and as many good points as the movie had, it's arguably fair to say that it didn't really deserve any "Best" awards. 

Okay, that's a little harsh (the CGI was fantastic, for example) but the sequel wasn't a patch on its predecessor and so this category existing at the 2010 Oscars probably wouldn't have benefited the genre in the slightest. Thankfully, things after this year would start picking up in a pretty significant way.


2011 - Captain America: The First Avenger

Now, this was more like it. DC may have released a flop with Green Lantern but Matthew Vaughn successfully rebooted the X-Men franchise (even if its rushed production schedule was apparent from dodgy wire work) and Marvel Studios released both Thor and Captain America: The First Avenger.

No one expected either of those to work but they did and while I do think Vaughn did some stellar work with the X-Men, this pulpy World War II action thriller was a love letter to a number of beloved films of the past and Steve Rogers' story arc was an absolute blast to follow from start to finish. 


2012 - The Avengers

The Amazing Spider-Man was let down by reshoots which robbed us of the "Untold Story" we had been promised and while The Dark Knight was an incredible ending to Batman's story, it wasn't quite up there with The Dark Knight Rises for some and critics managed to pick a lot of holes in it as a result.

If this category really is going to reward success, then The Avengers would have easily nabbed it. It broke a huge number of box office records, successfully did the impossible by bringing together all these different characters, and was ultimately a blast of a movie which was lapped up by everyone.


2013 - Iron Man 3

Man of Steel was a great film but it was also one rejected by moviegoers and critics alike for its darker take on Superman, something the DC Films Universe is still attempting to recover from. The Wolverine was also very good but spoiled by a lacklustre, CGI-heavy ending and Thor: The Dark World was...ok?

That leaves us with Iron Man 3, perhaps one of the most divisive comic book movies of all-time (which can be blamed for its take on one character, bizarrely enough). Despite that, critics praised it and it was another box office smash for Marvel Studios, so I truly believe this would have taken the crown.


2014 - Guardians Of The Galaxy

As we entered 2014, superhero movies had finally become a more regular occurrence. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 was admittedly horrendous and DC still didn't have its act together but we got a lot of great Marvel adventures this year, including Bryan Singer's return with X-Men: Days of Future Past.

I'm torn between that or Captain America: The Winter Soldier walking away with this prize given how groundbreaking they were for very different reasons but there actually wasn't a movie which had a bigger impact on people during this year than James Gunn's spectacular Guardians of the Galaxy.


2015 - Avengers: Age Of Ultron

This was another tricky year. I think common sense says that Star Wars: The Force Awakens would have won the top prize but if we're keeping the focus on superhero movies, then it has to be this one. Ant-Man didn't make that big of an impact and Fantastic Four was the complete opposite of fantastic! 

That just leaves us with Avengers: Age of Ultron, a movie which would essentially be the winner by proxy! However, it was an excellent movie which I believe mostly improved on The Avengers aside from that weird dream sequence stuff with Thor. Had this won, most of us would have been very happy. 


2016 - Deadpool

Was Deadpool 2016's best superhero movie? For me, that honour would have to go to Captain America: Civil War and I think it's pretty clear that Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Suicide Squad, and X-Men: Apocalypse wouldn't have stood a chance here given the critical response to them all. 

Doctor Strange was a little too much like Iron Man to excel in this awards realm so seeing as Deadpool broke a huge number of box office records and was essentially a movie which shouldn't have existed, I do think it would have been the surprise winner here because the vast majority seriously LOVED it.


2017 - Wonder Woman

Well, it wasn't going to be Justice League, was it? Spider-Man: Homecoming was a solid reboot, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 was an amazing sequel, and Thor: Ragnarok was just crazy good but none of those had the same impact that Wonder Woman did on both moviegoers and Hollywood. 

As I'm sure many of you will point out, the DC Comics adaptation's main competition in 2017 would have to be Logan, a superb ending to Hugh Jackman's tenure as Wolverine which did deserve a number of "Best Picture" nods. I just think Wonder Woman ultimately made a bigger splash! 


2018 - Black Panther

Many believe that the introduction of this new category is the Academy's way of avoiding nominating Black Panther for "Best Picture" because they're scared it would win and the ceremony would no longer be a chance to highlight the year's most pretentious and often highly forgettable offerings. 

As great as Avengers: Infinity War was, the impact T'Challa's first solo outing had is nothing short of extraordinary and if it does wind up in this "Popular" category, common sense says it will claw through the competition. It's just a shame Ryan Coogler's movie won't end up getting the attention it deserves. 

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