Seeing a picture from the Wonder Woman movie underneath a title implying that comic book movies haven’t been good enough to be the best movie of the year might make you feel annoyed and dismissive. So it’s probably best if I preface my point by clarifying what this article is not. This isn’t a criticism of the entertainment value of comic book movies, since this year alone has put out some very enjoyable and successful superhero films that have earned tons of money. This also isn’t anything against the Wonder Woman movie in particular, as I enjoyed it, and was very happy to see such an iconic character overcome the cynicism about whether or not female protagonists hurt marketability. What this article is about is the significance of the Best Picture award.
The name sounds so self-explanatory: an award that should go to whatever movie was the best of the year. But the word “best” is also open to interpretation. Is your idea of the best movie the one that was the most fun to watch? The one that was the most thought-provoking? The one with the most original concepts? Ideally a movie would have all of those qualities, but frequently the nominees are each strong in one way or the other, and we’re all left with our own preferences on which quality deserves the highest praise.