Now that Logan is settling into its run in the cinemas and is still enjoying success both critically and commercially, the question is now being raised by some if Logan has a chance at winning some awards in 2018.
Pre-Christopher Nolan, there wasn't a hope that a film such as this would even hope to achieve the kind of critical acclaim it has. It isn't just younger critics or more popular culture-tinged outlets who've enjoyed Logan, either.
The Atlantic's David Sims said that Logan "succeeds splendidly", whilst the New York Times called Logan "a strong argument for bringing the comic-book movie down to earth," whilst Joe Morgenstern at the Wall Street Journal praised the script as "the crucial ingredient of this impressive production, a model of ambition, complexity and old-fashioned showmanship that's matched by Mr. Mangold's direction."
More often than not, for a film to succeed in awards season is that it has to have something like a career-defining performance. Very often, it's actors either starting into their career - such as Lupita Nyong'o or Brie Larson for 12 Years A Slave and Room, respectively - or they're reaching the autumn years, like Martin Scorsese's win for The Departed or Jeff Bridges in Crazy Heart. Here in Logan, there are two clear performances that work towards this - Hugh Jackman as Logan and Patrick Stewart as Charles Xavier, or as he's known in the film, Chuck.
Out of the two, Patrick Stewart is likely to be more the viable candidate for an Oscar campaign and, on reflection, it's the more layered and nuanced of the two. Stewart brings a breathtaking vulnerability to the role, both physically and in his character, that becomes more breathtaking with each viewing. There's no CGI here, no pages of endless exposition or franchise-plugging, but a human and honest portrayal of a man nearing the end of his life, facing his regrets and knowing that he is losing his grip on it all.
A key scene in the film sees Stewart's character confessing to what he believes is Hugh Jackman's character about what has plagued him, and how he fully understands what is to come and what is behind him. It's that kind of performance that makes it such an arresting scene, and it's exactly the kind of thing you'd see in any indie drama that would normally makes it way into the awards season considerations.
The real barrier to Logan being taken seriously as an awards season contender is, of course, the fact that it's firstly a comic-book franchise film, and a secondly, a genre film that embraces it rather than subverts it. Genre films have worked out in the past, past examples being Silence Of The Lambs and Anthony Hopkins, The Dark Knight and Heath Ledger, and The Departed and Martin Scorsese. While it might be too much to hope for that Logan would receive an Oscar for Best Picture, there's a decent chance it'll receive a nomination.
It's easy to dismiss Logan - and Stewart's performance - as commercial, but the fact is that James Mangold's vision is quite the opposite. Beyond the top-line cast of Jackman and Stewart, there are no recognisable or household names here. Richard E. Grant, who plays one of the antagonists, would be more recently known for a guest-starring role in HBO's Girls. Boyd Holbrook turned up in Netflix's Narcos. The film, though it is a continuation of a series, boldly sets itself apart from it and makes no idle references to what has come before. Moreover, the film is - within you come right down to it - a Western, a genre that's been out of fashion for close to twenty years.
Mangold has had brushes with award season before, of course, and so to has Jackman, Stewart and screenwriters Scott Frank. Mangold directed Angelina Jolie to a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for Girl, Interrupted and Reese Witherspoon to Best Actress for Walk The Line, whilst Scott Frank was nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay for Out of Sight. Hugh Jackman, meanwhile was previously nominated for Best Actor for Les Miserables, whilst Stewart has won two Olivier Awards for his expansive theatre work - but no nominations in the Academy Awards.
If AMPAS - the governing body of the Oscars - is so desperate to stay relevant and become more in tune with the changing world, it has to acknowledge that there's been more than a few deserved Oscars held back because of snobbery or distaste for genre filmmaking and the performances therein.
Logan is one such film, and it should be recognised for it.