Stephen McFeely and Christopher Markus - the screenwriters on the upcoming Avengers: Infinity War - are deadly serious when they say that their script for the movie has the potential to win next year's Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay. This declaration was made in spite of The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' notorious bias against comic book movies.
With a rare few exceptions, the Academy has been slow to honor works of science fiction and fantasy that redefine what motion pictures are capable of outside of the technical categories. Despite this, Marvel Studios has yet to merit even a single Oscar win after several nominations for Best Visual Effects and Best Hair and Make-Up. Hopes are high that Marvel's Black Panther may be able to earn Oscars in the writing, acting and direction categories in 2019. However, Stephen McFeely and Christopher Markus contend that Infinity War will be the movie that final brings home the gold for Marvel Studios.
McFeely and Markus made their case in a group interview with Screen Rant visited the set of Avengers: Infinity War in June 2017. When asked to describe the basic plot of the film and what genre it best fit, McFeely said it was "difficult to explain," with Markus jokingly adding that "It’s Oscar-worthy" before going on to compare Infinity War - and the Marvel Cinematic Universe in general - to The Lord Of The Rings trilogy.
"So, Lord of the Rings, big epic thing right? It’s three movies! This is 23 movies!" said McFeely, in a hilarious rant, emphaszing the insane ambition of the MCU and complimenting its mastermind."When is someone going to get [Kevin] Feige the [Irving G.] Thalberg award. All he's doing is remaking Hollywood. Please!"
Markus, in a lighthearted tone, expanded on the comparison, noting that The Return Of The King won the Best Picture Oscar, despite most fans and critics thinking The Two Towers was the better film. The Academy has often been accused of handing out awards to unworthy work to make up for previous slights, such as when Al Pacino was awarded a Best Actor Oscar for his role in Scent of a Woman to make-up for his being snubbed for his performances in The Godfather films.
"Return of the King is no better or worse than the other two," says Markus. "It got cumulative awards. And frankly, if you go back and look at it you’re like, “Really, you gave that Oscars?” Maybe they had extra Oscars that year."
What will it take then for these genre movies, especially ones based on comic books, to get this sort of recognition in Hollywood? Marks continues:
"I don’t know, I mean people mumble about it with various movies for various reasons. There was an article about Wonder Woman this Monday and there’s articles about Logan, none of which are us. I think someone has to come to Jesus, so to speak, and take a look at the amount of work that’s been done."
McFeely and Markus admit that the odds are against them, despite their confidence that Avengers: Infinity War will be "a bigger achievement than anybody's ever pulled off on a multi-movie scale." McFeely is quite to point out that both the original Star Wars and Raiders of the Lost Ark - both considered two of the finest films ever made today - were nominated for Best Picture and lost. Still, the screenwriters confess that they don't know what will finally destroy The Academy's prejudice against superhero movies.
"It’s a civil rights drama and we’re the victims," joked Markus.
- Avengers: Infinity War / The Avengers 3 (2018) release date: Apr 27, 2018