Oscar screeners of Avengers: Endgame ignore the fact that it’s a superhero movie. The culmination of the 23 MCU films, Avengers: Endgame is the highest-grossing movie of all time. Marvel’s success, which began in 2008 with Iron Man, has provoked a divisive reaction from other filmmakers. The most notable of these reactions are, of course, the comments made by renowned directors Martin Scorsese and Francis Ford Coppola.
In The Avengers, Nick Fury says “There was an idea.” That idea was to establish superheroes in their own movies and then gradually build a cinematic universe. The Avengers was the first true stab at something that at only ever really been attempted on the page. After that, the MCU continued to build their roster, and with it, commercial (and critical) praise; the average Rotten Tomatoes score for an MCU film is 83.8% while the average audience score is 82.1%. This reaction reflects an achievement in mainstream storytelling and Avengers: Endgame is the cherry on top of that sundae. Disney launched its 2019 For Your Consideration website last month, in an effort to capitalize on their achievement. However, a lot of people have written those films (Endgame in particular) off as unworthy of award consideration.
Matthew Jacobs, a movie reporter, and critic at the HuffPost, tweeted a picture of an Oscar screener of Avengers: Endgame. On its front is a humble, black, and white picture of a distraught Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) recording what we know to be a message to Pepper Potts. The picture conveniently excludes the anything in the scene’s background that might indicate Stark is on a space ship. It's merely meant to accentuate the character. Check out Jacobs’ tweet below.
The FYC screener for Avengers: Endgame is working very hard to make this movie seem serious. pic.twitter.com/PBtjiYWbg8— Matt Jacobs (@tarantallegra) November 26, 2019
The screener's inclusion of Robert Downey Jr. no doubt pays homage to an actor many people consider to be the godfather of the MCU. His career-revitalizing turn as Tony Stark was arguably the catalyst for all of the talents Marvel has been able to acquire over the years. Given the fact that Avengers: Endgame is Downey’s last movie (linearly), fans were upset that Disney did not push for an acting (Oscar) bid in his honor. There are many that believe he deserves an Academy Award nomination for his iconic portrayal. Downey himself has said that he has no intention of campaigning. Disney has since updated their website to not only include Downey in an acting category but 13 other stars from the film.
It’s not very often that a comic book movie gets true recognition in the best picture category; one could argue that The Dark Knight opened the door for superhero credibility in 2008 (along with Iron Man) and Black Panther (2018) held that door open. The latter was the first one to ever warrant an Academy Award nomination for Best Picture. Perhaps the landscape of cinema really is beginning to change and superhero movies will stand toe to toe with original material; films like Joker will be indistinguishable from other character pieces. Or maybe superhero movies are “event films” that have no interest in the human experience, equatable with theme park rides. Regardless, "there was an idea" for an Oscar campaign and it's one we should take seriously.
Source: Matt Jacobs/Twitter
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- Eternals (2020) release date: Nov 06, 2020
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- Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2021) release date: May 07, 2021
- Thor: Love and Thunder (2021) release date: Nov 05, 2021
- Black Panther 2 (2022) release date: May 06, 2022
- Spider-Man: Homecoming 3 (2021) release date: Jul 16, 2021