Hollywood loves a good villain and with #OscarsSoWhite no longer trending, superhero movies have been cast as the new enemy plaguing the industry this awards season, despite the fact that comic book movies are the tentpoles that prop up the movie business.
One day after Dan Gilroy took Hollywood to task for its over-reliance on superhero movies at the Independent Spirit Awards, Jack Black hit the stage at the Dolby Theater during host Neil Patrick Harris’ opening musical number to lambast Hollywood for its insatiable appetite for caped crusaders.
What’s ironic about all anti-superhero movement is that nine of this year’s 20 acting nominees have appeared in superhero movies in one shape or another, if we’re counting Benedict Cumberbatch’s upcoming turn in Marvel’s “Doctor Strange.”
Michael Keaton is most famous for “Batman,” and even riffs on his own iconography in that role in “Birdman.” It’s debatable whether that movie would work as well as it does if Keaton didn’t bring his own comic book baggage to the role of Riggan Thomson.
The Best Supporting Actor category features two nominees who have played the Hulk on the big screen — Edward Norton in “The Incredible Hulk” and Mark Ruffalo in “The Avengers” as well as its upcoming sequel “Age of Ultron.”
Three veterans of Sony’s “Spider-Man” franchise were also nominated this year. J.K. Simmons played Peter Parker’s editor J. Jonah Jameson in Sam Raimi‘s “Spider-Man” trilogy, while Emma Stone and Felicity Jones played Gwen Stacy and Felicia Hardy, respectively, in Marc Webb’s “Amazing Spider-Man” movies.
Meanwhile, Marion Cotillard played Talia al Ghul in “The Dark Knight Rises,” Bradley Cooper voiced Rocket Raccoon in “Guardians of the Galaxy” and Cumberbatch will soon join him in the Marvel Cinematic Universe as “Doctor Strange.”
Let’s not forget that Oscar winner Ben Affleck inheriting Batman’s cowl from Oscar winner Christian Bale, or that five-time Oscar nominee Amy Adams plays Lois Lane opposite Henry Cavill’s Superman. Oscar winner Jamie Foxx and Oscar nominees Willem Dafoe, James Franco, Paul Giamatti and Thomas Haden Church all played villains in “Spider-Man” movies.
Keaton was even joined in “Batman Returns” by Oscar winner Christopher Walken and Oscar nominees Michelle Pfeiffer and Danny DeVito, so striking a balance between comic book blockbusters and prestige pictures is really nothing new to Hollywood.
Oscar nominee Viola Davis is also poised to join a comic book movie, as she is nearing a deal to play Amanda Waller in WB’s “Suicide Squad,” alongside Oscar-winner Jared Leto.