The film Logan was released on March 3, 2017. In case you haven’t seen it, Logan is the story of Old Man Logan, Wolverine, in the year 2029. No mutant has been born in 25 years, and the adamantium which was fused to his skeleton has taken a toll. It’s poisoning him from the inside out. Where once the Wolverine was nearly indestructible, his healing powers are not what they were and he is finally slowly dying. The film takes the viewer on a sad yet realistic ride, where Wolverine and Professor Charles Xavier, brilliantly portrayed by Sir Patrick Stewart, escort a young, recently discovered mutant to the Canadian border. The film is wonderfully acted, impeccably directed, beautifully shot, realistically written, and thus deserves consideration for many Oscar nominations.
Best Actor: for this category, Hugh Jackman should be nominated. His portrayal of the Wolverine, a role which has pretty much defined his career, is a wonderful swan song to the character. Jackman plays Logan with simmering yet occasionally restrained intensity. Logan is a character who knows he’s not long for this life, yet still presses on towards what he feels his ending should be, on his own terms. However when he gets pulled back in to the hero’s calling (a la Michael Corlerone - “just when I thought I was out...”), he once more answers that call. Jackman deserves a Best Actor nomination.
Best Supporting Actor: for this category, Sir Patrick Stewart deserves a nomination. His portrayal as the nonagenarian Dr. Charles Xavier is played by balancing a quiet dignity with the sad failings of a man who has a degenerative brain disease similar to Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s. This would be tragic for anyone, but combine it with the fact that in the X-Men universe, Charles possesses the most powerful brain on the planet. If that brain slips, then people suffer. Sir Patrick deftly walks this line with a gentle touch. It’s a fantastic portrayal, deserving of an Oscar nod.
Best Supporting Actress: newcomer Dafne Keen plays Laura, X-23. She is the first new mutant that Charles has connected to in years. Keen’s performance, heavy on emotion (rage, for the most part), drives her character. Played by any other actress, I don’t believe the role of Laura would have had the impact that Keen’s had. While it’s an outside shot, I still believe she deserves a nomination simply because of the power of her performance, especially from an actor so young.
Best Picture/Best Director/Best Adapted Screenplay: All three categories should be represented by Logan. The film itself is reminiscent of old time westerns, similar to Shane and Unforgiven, which won Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor, and best Director. Logan never bogs down, the pace doesn’t slow, and it doesn’t fall into the tropes common in “superhero” movies. It’s also a throwback to the antihero movies first appreciated in the 1970s. Logan is well written, spectacularly directed, and deserving of nominations in these three categories.
However, I’m a realist. I know Hollywood is Hollywood. It’s rare for a genre film like Logan to attain Oscar glory, much less Oscar consideration. I know the Academy threw Heath Ledger a posthumous bone back in 2009, but that shouldn’t stop them from nominating what was truly an incredible picture, just because it may fall in the “comic book” genre. Logan deserves to be nominated in many categories, and Hollywood needs to recognize that.