Part of what gives lovable lunkhead Vin Diesel his charm is his eternal optimism. Whether he’s pounding Coronas with the family or engaging in a good-natured pro-wrestling beef with his co-star Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Diesel seems like the kind of guy who’s happy just to be invited. He’s also the Fast & Furious series’ biggest fan, perennially expressing his disbelief that the series isn’t sweeping the Academy Awards like a little kid whose favorite movie is always the last movie he saw, especially if he got to eat pizza afterwards.
In fact, Diesel has been expressing a “Cubs fan” level of optimism about the series’ Oscar chances since Fast Five, which he said in 2011 had a shot at winning Best Picture. His faith endured through last year’s Furious 7, which Diesel said would “probably win best picture at the Oscars, unless the Oscars don’t want to be relevant ever.”
There’s an argument for that last point, one that just so happens to apply to Straight Outta Compton director F. Gary Gray, who was excluded from the Best Director category last year in favor of some candy-ass old white dudes (and one candy-ass Mexican dude). Gray is also directing the next installment in the Fast & Furious series, Fast 8, and Diesel is absolutely sure that Gray will get an Oscar for his work on the film. Here’s what he told Entertainment Tonight:
As bizarre as that might be, he is definitely going to [be recognized]. As crazy as that might sound, he should have really been acknowledged for Straight Outta Compton. I think he went into making this movie with a little bit of a chip [on his shoulder], going ‘Oh, really? Now I’m going to take the biggest saga in the world, and I’m about to throw Oscars at you.’ Wait until you see what he does!
Diesel also says that the tone of Fast 8 will be markedly different and much darker than previous installments, which, to be fair, is something that Oscars voters usually enjoy. If he wears some sort of prosthetic and/or adopts a British accent for the part, maybe his dream really will come true this time. The Cubs are doing quite well this year…