Could ‘Birds of Prey’ and ‘The Invisible Man’ Actually Be Best Actress Awards Contenders Next Year?

Birds of Prey and The Invisible Man could be getting an unexpected boost.

Hollywood is reeling from the continuing effects of coronavirus. So far, all the major studios have postponed or pulled their releases through May. And movie theater chains such as AMC Theatres and Regal Cinemas are closing up until further notice. While we still have no clue how this will all shake out, some fans are looking ahead to the effects on the next awards season.

So, given the current situation, moviegoers may have very well seen the last movies from the first half of 2020. The silver lining? That means the few standout films that did hit theaters have an even greater opportunity to shine. And for fans of Birds of Prey and The Invisible Man, it means stars Margot Robbie and Elisabeth Moss could gain some awards traction.

Margot Robbie at the 'Birds of Prey' world premiere
Margot Robbie at the ‘Birds of Prey’ world premiere | TOLGA AKMEN/AFP via Getty Images

The ‘Birds of Prey’ and ‘The Invisible Man’ stars earned rave reviews

At first, Birds of Prey — excuse us, Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) — and The Invisible Man seem like they don’t have much in common. After all, one is an $85 million superhero movie, and the other is a grim $7 million horror film. Yet, the two films share a remarkable number of similarities.

Both are bold R-rated entries in long-running franchises. Birds of Prey is a Suicide Squad spin-off set within the DC Extended Universe. And The Invisible Man is the latest attempt to revive the Universal Monsters. These two movies are also both female-led and among the year’s highest-grossers to date.

Moreover, both February 2020 releases earned positive critical receptions. And fans pinpoint just how much their respective successes rely on the committed performances of their stars. As the unpredictable Harley Quinn and the tormented Cecilia Kass, Robbie and Moss deliver some of the best work of their careers. Why shouldn’t they get awards attention for it?

But both Elisabeth Moss and Margot Robbie face rough awards chances

The short answer is because of the genres they’re a part of. Awards-giving bodies are notoriously biased against comic book movies and horror films. Sure, rare exceptions like Joker and Get Out manage to break into the Oscar race. But for the most part, these two genres are unfairly looked down upon. However, the industry has shown some growth in that regard.

Although Robbie and Moss have very different roles to play, they each imbue a sense of humanity and strength. Harley Quinn is a cartoon character come to life, and Robbie plays her that way, for the most part. But she still never feels false. She’s fun and captivating to watch. Yet, audiences never lose their empathy for the character’s journey of self-discovery.

Like Robbie, Moss plays the victim of an abusive relationship. But her recovery doesn’t take place in a fictional comic book city. And there’s no room for levity in The Invisible Man. Although Birds of Prey has a few heavy moments, Cecilia’s story is intense throughout. The realistic tenor of The Invisible Man makes its themes of gaslighting all the more harrowing.

We still don’t know the full effects of coronavirus on the industry

At this point, the future of Hollywood is very much on hold. We don’t know when everything will return to normal. And more to the point, we have no clue what effect the coronavirus will have on release schedules. Will more films be pushed back or shuffled around? And if so, how might the awards conversation shift as a result?

In any case, Birds of Prey and The Invisible Man are easily among the best 2020 films so far. Neither Robbie nor Moss ever forget the tone of the movie they’re in. Yet, in their contexts, both performances are pitch-perfect. And in a just world, they’d be in the awards race regardless of the films’ genres. If nothing else, maybe now they at least stand more of a fighting chance.