The Oscars came under fire last year for the lack of representation in all categories. The #OscarsSoWhite spread like wildfire prior to and after the awards were handed out, which has made this coming year’s nominations especially interesting. One of the movies, casts, and directors that could have helped with this case is Straight Outta Compton, the biopic drama directed by F. Gary Gray. Instead of a Best Director, Best Film, or Best Male Lead nomination for Jason Mitchell, the film did not receive any sort of recognition from the Oscars.
Gray is making a sharp turn into Fast 8, which gives the film just another interesting aspect in the followup to the record breaking Furious 7. Even though Fast & Furious is not the franchise that typically comes to mind for awards consideration, the franchise’s biggest star thinks that is a real possibility.
Vin Diesel is out promoting Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk but was asked about the next installment in the Fast & Furious franchise and the way in which Gray changed the feel of the film. Diesel told ET Online that the film is “different” and has a “dark” tone, which could help Gray get the Oscar nomination Diesel thinks he deserved:
I think he went into making this movie with a little bit of a chip on his shoulder, going ‘Oh, really? Ok. Now I’m going to take the biggest saga in the world, and I’m about to throw Oscars at you.’ Wait till you see what he does!
Diesel’s comments are clearly meant to further hype up the film and keep conversation going about the next installment, but it would be quite the surprise for Fast 8 to get awards consideration for any of the bigger categories. Unless Gray has completely flipped the script on the franchise and is making the movie a drama and not an action film, this is a franchise that has not previously proven to be in the upper echelon level of films that the Oscars target.
Even if Fast 8 proves to be an action drama that is worthy of awards and is one of the best films of next year, the Academy has been previously stingy on showing favor to franchise films, outside of technical categories. Outside of Lord of the Rings: Return of the King sweeping the Oscars or Heath Ledger getting a posthumous win as a supporting actor in The Dark Knight, the biggest awards shows have not typically given recognition to films that are some of the more popular movies amongst casual viewers and at the box office. If Diesel’s comments are true, then maybe Fast 8 could help change that trend, but for now that appears unlikely.