"Deadpool" was one of the biggest surprises of 2016. Could it be one of the biggest surprises of the Oscars as well?
CNN  — 

When Oscar nominations are announced later this month, films like “La La Land,” “Moonlight” and Manchester by the Sea” are all likely to nab nods, but “Deadpool” is shaping up to be a dark horse.

Yes, that “Deadpool.”

The raunchy, ultra-violent, R-rated superhero film is currently generating a fair share of Oscar buzz. Enough, in fact, that some are arguing it could get nominations not just in the technical awards area usually reserved for blockbusters – categories like visual effects and sound – but from the ceremony’s top-tier categories like best actor and, possibly, best picture.

While that scenario is a long shot (Oscars predicting site Gold Derby currently has the film’s odds for a best picture nomination at 100 to 1), after the movie’s director, Tim Miller, nabbed a prestigious Directors Guild of America bid on Thursday, it seems more plausible.

The film – starring Ryan Reynolds as the mouthy mercenary – was both a commercial and critical success. Since its debut in February, “Deadpool” has made more than $780 million worldwide – on a budget of just $58 million – while garnering a 84% score on review site Rotten Tomatoes.

A stunning Oscar nomination in a big category would add to the film’s already surprising nominations haul this awards season.

At the Globes, the film lost to Oscar frontrunner “La La Land” in the best musical or comedy category – and Reynolds lost out to Ryan Gosling – but the nominations themselves may have served as advertisements to Academy voters.

While there’s a little momentum currently working in the film’s favor, ultimately, “Deadpool’s” golden Oscar target will be hard to hit.

No film from the superhero genre has ever been nominated for best picture (unless you count “Birdman”). The Academy has also had a history of stifling blockbusters and comedies – two genres that fit “Deadpool.”

However, the Academy expanded the number of entries in the best picture category back in 2009, in part, to include more broadly popular fare after another superhero film, Christopher Nolan’s Batman sequel “The Dark Knight,” was shut out of the category the year prior.

And as “Mad Max: Fury Road” showed last year by amassing six awards – more than any other 2015 release – R-rated blockbusters can get nominated, and win.

So, for now, the “Deadpool” Oscar dream is alive.