Last year at this time, 20th Century Fox was just beginning to really gear up for promotion of the then-upcoming Deadpool movie. Up to that point there had been plenty of unique teases and samples with regard to what the movie had in store for audiences in the New Year. But once December hit, the 12 Days of Deadpool campaign began and Ryan Reynolds’ portrayal of the Merc With the Mouth really took off, promising an already eager fanbase so much more to look forward to.
When Deadpool finally did arrive in theaters, audiences went ballistic for it. Many had predicted that Reynolds’ long delayed pet project would be a hit, but it’s safe to say that very few people expected it to go on to become the biggest R-rated release of all time, with a worldwide gross of well over $700 million. Drawing in longtime fans of the comic book as well as curious newcomers with its wonderful word of mouth, some may’ve even felt that Deadpool should have gotten some Oscar love when the 88th Academy Awards arrived last year.
Although Deadpool was ineligible for Oscar voting thanks to its arrival after the calendar year of consideration, Ryan Reynolds feels that when it comes to comedies, the Academy isn’t playing fair. During a recent interview with THR, Reynolds praised the Golden Globes for their willingness to acknowledge the genre and lamented the Oscars’ refusal to do the same. Particularly in the case of Deadpool, Reynolds feels that its strength as a comedy came from emotional investment in its eponymous star. When asked if comedies are the target of a sort of prejudice in some Hollywood circles, Reynolds had this to say:
Always. I’m grateful the Golden Globes recognizes it as a category. I wish the Academy did. Comedy is incredibly hard to do, and it’s not something that comes easily.
The Deadpool star then proceeded to explain why he feels that comedy is harder and why Deadpool really succeeded in the genre.
The best comedy, in my opinion, has to be grounded in some form of truth. The character Deadpool is my alter ego. I don’t want to sound esoteric, but I can channel that guy in a way I just can’t seem to channel anything else. In terms of his sensibilities and certainly his sense of humor, I feel like we were born at the end of the same spectrum. It’s a very odd situation. I wouldn’t characterize it as an easy role to play because the great hoax of Deadpool is that there’s actually great dramatic tension that surrounds all of the comedy in the movie. I don’t think we could have gotten those comedic payoffs if audiences weren’t invested emotionally in the character. When the movie opened, we’d start to hear people say, “That was the funniest movie I’ve ever seen.”
Reynolds does have a valid point. Comedy is a deceptive genre in that audiences often forget how difficult it is to consistently create laughs for the duration of a film. Whether or not Deadpool is Oscar material, however, is an altogether different issue. A huge box office gross isn’t always the sole criteria for awards recognition and although Deadpool does have its humorous moments, it plays out far more like a comic book movie than a straight comedy.
That being said, Deadpool is quite removed from the vein of standard comic book movies and that in itself played a huge role in its success. In the end, the fact that the movie is pushing the comic book movie genre in new directions is likely far more beneficial for fans than a collection of golden statues would be, anyway.