Is Across the Spider-Verse Slated for an Oscar Win Already?

Across the Spider-Verse
Across the Spider-Verse | Image Credit:

Although Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse has stunned reviewers, is it enough to replicate the previous film’s Oscar success?

With its innovative approach to the superhero genre, Into the Spider-Verse stunned fans in 2018 and went on to win the Oscar for Best Animated Feature the following year. The highly anticipated and, some would argue, superior sequel Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse was equally well-received by critics. It had both box office and critical success, finishing as the sixth highest-grossing movie of 2023 with $690 million, nearly doubling the total of its predecessor.

Across the Spider-Verse, which takes place soon after the events of 2018’s Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, features Miles Morales (Shameik Moore) as he embarks on a multiverse voyage with Gwen Stacey (Hailee Steinfeld). They encounter hundreds of Spider-People along the way, and they also encounter a new enemy that makes Miles reevaluate what it is to be a hero. In addition to welcoming back beloved characters from the first film, such as Penny Parker (Kimiko Glenn) and Peter B. Parker (Jake Johnson), Across the Spider-Verse also introduces a plethora of new Spider-People, such as Jessica Drew (Issa Rae), Pavitr Prabhakar (Karan Soni), and Miguel O’Hara (Oscar Isaac), who was hinted at in the post-credit scene of Into the Spider-Verse.

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Given that the Oscars seem to be approaching quickly, is the excitement around Across the Spider-Verse’s dominance at the ceremony simply a result of nostalgia, or does the film still hold up best in light of the incredible last 12 months of animated features?

Enhancements to the Original Spider-Man in Across the Spider-Verse: With the bulk of reviewers, noting that Across the Spider-Verse outperforms the original in nearly every way, Across the Spider-Verse has an exceptionally remarkable 95% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Across the Spider-Verse fulfills every expectation for a follow-up. It skillfully develops the Spider-Verse’s world-building, pushes Miles’ character development into new realms, and honors its predecessor while maintaining a sense of independence. Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse is deserving of an Oscar nomination based just on this justification.

The anticipation for Across the Spider-Verse’s inescapable Oscar campaign truly surpasses that of the first film. Best Animated Feature at the 2019 Academy Awards went to Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. That was a major surprise because, since its late 2018 debut, it had been receiving favorable reviews and had gradually gained momentum, surpassing Pixar’s Incredibles 2, the film that was initially favored.

Though some reviewers refer to Across the Spider-Verse as “The Dark Knight of Animated Films,” a large number of supporters and critics are advocating for the movie to be nominated for Best Picture at the 2024 Academy Awards. If this were to occur, Across the Spider-Verse would become the first animated film not created by Disney to be nominated in the coveted category, and the fourth animated picture in history to do so. The previous nominees were Toy Story 3 (2010), Up (2009), and Beauty and the Beast (1991).

Is Across the Spider-Verse | Image Credit:

The conflicting reactions to the film’s conclusion are the only thing impeding Across the Spider-Verse’s Oscar chances. Part 1 of Miles’s tale, “Across the Spider-Verse,” explores the Spider-Verse; Part 2, “Spider-Man: Beyond the Spider-Verse,” was originally scheduled for publication in March 2024, but was postponed due to SAG-AFTRA and WGA strikes. The release date for Part 2 is still TBD. It is still possible to see Across the Spider-Verse as a whole film. Despite the fact that Miles’s story is now told in two parts, Across the Spider-Verse still follows Gwen Stacey through her whole three-act narrative as she tries to hide her true identity from her father.

Across the Spider-Verse accomplishes all a first installment ought to accomplish and closes on the ideal note. However, because of the current Hollywood tendency of similarly dividing sequels and finales into many parts, some fans find the choice to break the tale into two films to be problematic. Three movies in 2023 accomplished this feat: Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning, Fast X, and Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse. The resolutions to all three movies are currently awaiting a postponement.

Universal has completely redesigned the upcoming Fast & Furious and Mission: Impossible films, removing Part 1 from the Paramount+ release and renaming Part 2 as Misson: Impossible 8. Across the Spider-Verse seemed to have a chance, even though there was never any chance that either Fast X or Dead Reckoning would receive a Best Picture nomination. However, Academy voters may decide to wait and see how the story ends before giving the third entry the same treatment as Lord of the Rings: Return of the King, which triumphed for both its own sake and as a testament to the success of the entire trilogy.

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Across the Spider-Verse Is Up against Some Serious Rivals

At the 2019 Academy Awards, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse had fierce competition in its category from highly anticipated films including The Incredibles 2, Wes Anderson’s Isle of Dogs, Mirai, and Ralph Breaks the Internet. Upon its first release earlier this year, both reviewers and viewers assumed that Across the Spider-Verse would win a lot of Oscars (at least in the animated category). Nonetheless, with the field growing increasingly crowded, 2023 has been among the strongest years in recent memory for animated films.

In addition to Across the Spider-Verse, other highly acclaimed films produced in 2023 were The Boy and the Heron, Nimona, Suzume, and TMNT Mutant Mayhem. It’s debatable if the competition for animated films this year is as fierce as it was in 2019, but 2024’s Best Animated Feature winner won’t be as biased as some first believed.

Outside of the Academy Awards, Miyazaki’s The Boy and the Heron, which took home the Best Animated Feature prize at the 2018 Golden Globes, has already defeated Across the Spider-Verse, 0-1. With a late December release date, The Boy and the Heron is reminiscent to the year Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse won Best Animated Film; but, this time around, the sequel is the clear favorite and might take the lead.

The importance of animation cannot be overstated: consider Wish from Disney, Elemental from Pixar, and The Super Mario Bros. Movie from Illumination. Wish didn’t do well at the box office, but Disney usually has a lot of sway in the animated feature category, so it’s possible it will be nominated but not likely to win. Initially predicted to be a failure, Elemental turned into the unexpected summer blockbuster thanks to positive reviews. It is now the most streamed film of 2023, and given Pixar’s history, it may emerge as a serious contender.

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The most intriguing movie is Super Mario Bros. Movie, which is the second highest-grossing movie both domestically and internationally, behind Barbie, despite receiving mixed reviews from critics. Nevertheless, given that it received a Golden Globe nomination, there’s a chance the film will be nominated for Best Animated Film simply because many Academy voters probably viewed it with their children. This may also benefit Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, as its popularity helped make it a household brand among Academy voters. Given how well-liked the previous one was, it stands a good chance of winning Best Animated Film.

Will Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse Take Home the Best Picture Trophy?

Assume for the moment that Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse manages to cross over into the Animated Feature Film category and secures a Best Picture nomination. If so, it will be just the second superhero film to do this, following 2019’s Black Panther directed by Ryan Coogler. In addition to potentially shattering even more records, Across the Spider-Verse would become the first superhero film to win Best Picture if it were to triumph.

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But with three well-known academy filmmakers producing movies in 2023—Christopher Nolan, Martin Scorsese, and Greta Gerwig—there might be fierce competition for Best Picture this year. The festival standouts this year, including Todd Haynes’ May December and Justine Triet’s Anatomy of a Fall, both of which scored high marks, would provide fierce competition for Across the Spider-Verse. Furthermore, The Holdovers and Poor Things have emerged as favorites for the subsequent award season, compressing the field for Best Picture.

Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse will very certainly be nominated for an Academy Award in 2024, and it will almost certainly be in the Best Animated Feature category. Across the Spider-Verse be really put to the test, though, in the Best Picture category, where the field of contenders may be the strongest in years.

Original Author: Archie Fenn


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