Let’s start here: it is quite likely that Top Gun: Maverick will win several Oscars. With his ubiquitous power ballad and an Oscar already in hand, Lady Gaga is perfectly poised to rock the Best Original Songs category with “Hold My Hand.” And while there are still blockbusters to come, including black panther 2 and Avatar 2, the best sound category basically exists for zooms and crashes of Superior gunaerial spectaculars.
There’s another honor that’s a little more out of reach, but irresistible to fans of the film and one of Oscar’s oldest tales to imagine: the belated award. Tom Cruise has already been celebrated as the only savior of cinema, thanks to maverickIncredible returns. But what if he also got a Best Actor statue for his efforts?
The idea was launched when maverick first opened, and at the time it seemed a little fanciful. But like maverick continued his dominance at the box office, to a degree that seemed impossible for any movie about non-superpowered human beings, Cruise and his Herculean efforts to entertain the world remain hard to ignore. Would an Oscar really be that weird at this point?
Learn more about this not-so-crazy idea on this week’s show. little golden men podcast.
Yes, it’s a story that, with a few tweaked details, seems to resurface every year. There was the chimerical campaign for Spider-Man: No Coming Home to earn a Best Picture nomination, thanks in large part to its own box office success. There are the summer hits that hold out hope of being remembered when the Oscars roll around six months later, tiny triumphs like The farewell in the notorious case of The black Knight. There’s the whole #OscarsCheerMoment mess for the Snyder Cut, which we just can’t get into right now. But for about as long as there have been Oscars, there has been pressure from various quarters to reward populist successes, with the somewhat persuasive argument that millions of fans can’t be everything Wrong.
And once in a while it works. After its splashy premiere at Cannes in May, Top Gun: Maverick has been compared quite favorably to Mad Max: Fury Road which began its own unlikely road to Oscar dominance at the same festival. Black Panther won three Oscars. get out, a horror film released a year before the ceremony, was nominated for four Academy Awards and won Best Original Screenplay. When critics, audiences and Oscar voters align so completely, it can be truly thrilling – a throwback to the days when Tootsie and HEY were the highest-grossing films of 1982 when they lost top picture to Gandhi.
But the Mad Max: Fury Road the comparisons did not go far, even at Cannes. Top Gun: Maverick is a success on many levels, but not quite the same as george millerwild director’s vision, or even road of furymetaphorical resonance. (maverick do everything possible to avoid any connection to real world politics, which, fair enough.) And even if maverick is by far the biggest box office hit of the year, cultural dominance no longer means quite the same as it does for HEY The urgency to celebrate a success, no matter how big, probably won’t matter as much to globally spread and forward-thinking Academy voters.
But that brings us back to Tom Cruise, the man without whom maverick would not exist for many reasons. Nominated for three career Oscars, including two for definitive leading roles in Born July 4 and Jerry Maguire, one for transformative support work in Magnolia– he’s come a long way since his last appointment in 2000. On the verge of irrelevance at the time Jeremy Renner was chosen as his young and fresh colead in 2011 Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, Cruise has instead taken this franchise back under his control, amassing such strong influence at the box office that even a long, seemingly implausible gestation Superior gun the sequel suddenly became real. His no–Impossible mission work—two Jack Reach films that barely exist, a reboot attempt The Mummy, no matter American made turned out to be – was almost uniformly irrelevant, but every Ethan Hunt movie has reset the clock. Watch Tom Cruise in his element, and it’s impossible not to be impressed. There really isn’t another movie star like him yet.