Photo by: Brian Roedel/A24
The Iron Claw was a huge hit for A24, earning nearly $40 million at the box office and tallying an 89 percent critics score on Rotten Tomatoes. Zac Efron, who played Kevin Von Erich in the film, was getting some Academy Award buzz for his role. And while the film was nominated and won multiple awards (two from the National Board of Review), The Iron Claw is not going to be holding up any Oscars as it received zero nominations. And fans want to know why the film was knocked out of the Academy Award competition.

The easy reason is 2023 being a big year for movies. The Iron Claw was released the same year as blockbuster hits like Barbie and Oppenheimer, but independent films like American Fiction and Past Lives are also Oscar-worthy. When it comes down to it, there was likely not enough room for The Iron Claw to be part of the Oscar party.

Another reason could be sports films not getting as much attention due to sports being the focus. This is not to say sports films don’t win Oscars as Rocky, Raging Bull, Million Dollar Baby, Heaven Can Wait and The Blind Side are a few movies that took home Academy Awards. But films about professional wrestling are few and far between and normally don’t go as in-depth as The Iron Claw, other than the 2008 filmThe Wrestler which earned two Oscar nominations in 2008.

The Iron Claw is not just about what the Von Erichs did in the ring. The film does a great job showing the bond the Von Erich brothers had as well as the issues each one dealt with. You don’t have to be a wrestling fan to understand the pain of losing a family member in heartbreaking fashion, which is what Kevin Von Erich dealt with multiple times.

And speaking of Kevin, Efron had the performance of his career in The Iron Claw. Because of the competition, Efron being nominated for an Oscar for Best Actor was a longshot, but his performance could take him to new heights in his career. Not only did Efron go through a major change physically, but the 36-year-old actor showed the strength and vulnerability of Kevin throughout the entire film.

The Iron Claw is a special film that should have received more support from the Academy. Oppenheimer, Barbie, The Holdovers, American Fiction and The Zone of Interest are films that deserve the accolades they received, but that leads to other great films being overlooked. It’s a shame The Iron Claw is one movie that was left behind by the Academy.


Brian Jones is a veteran sports and entertainment writer based in Atlanta, GA. He previously worked for and 247Sports and interviewed athletes and celebrities such as Joe Montana, Jerry Rice, Emmitt Smith, Eli Manning, Halle Berry, Drew Barrymore, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Nia Long, DJ Khaled and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Brian also wrote for Bleacher Report and his articles have appeared on CBS Sports, Athlon Sports and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
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