Avengers Endgame

Unless Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker makes a last minute dash for the box office record, Avengers: Endgame will be both the highest grossing movie of 2019 and the highest grossing movie of all time. But that’s not good enough for The Walt Disney Company and Marvel Studios, because they’ll be making a big push for the comic book movie to get some awards love too. However, it would seem that there’s one key category that Disney and Marvel have left out, and we’re not sure why.

Here’s the list of categories that Disney and Marvel are pushing “For Your Consideration” for this awards season, via their official awards page:

Avengers Endgame Awards Consideration

Disney and Marvel have pushed for all of these categories for many of their movies before. Black Panther was the most successful in that regard in the awards season cycle for 2018, but the studios are likely hoping for even more recognition this year, perhaps as more of a cumulative recognition of what Kevin Feige has done with the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It could be a scenario similar to when Lord of the Rings: Return of the King swept every category it was nominated for, which was largely assumed to be recognition of the crowning achievement of the entire trilogy, which was shot all at once.

However, we can’t help but notice that Robert Downey Jr. is suspiciously absent from being considered for Best Actor. Downey’s turn in Avengers: Endgame is really the only one that we could see realistically being nominated for an Academy Award (though, personally, I would support Chris Hemsworth getting a Best Supporting Actor nomination). Directors Anthony & Joe Russo even said as much while they were making the publicity rounds for Avengers: Endgame on home video. Speaking with The Daily Beast, here’s what Joe Russo said back at the beginning of September:

“I just want to stump for one thing, and that’s Robert Downey… We don’t make movies for awards. Yes, making this was exceedingly difficult. We made the two most expensive movies ever back-to-back. But I just want to stump for one thing, and that’s Robert Downey. I don’t know if I have ever seen — in movie history — a global audience react to a performance the way they did to Robert Downey in that movie. There were people bawling in movie theaters, hyperventilating. I mean, that is a profound performance, when you can touch audiences all over the world to that degree. We’ve never seen anything like that, and if that doesn’t deserve an Oscar, I don’t know what does.”

Personally, I don’t agree that the way fans reacted to Robert Downey Jr.’s performance in Avengers: Endgame is a good reason to nominate him for an Oscar. There are fans who cry at ridiculous things all the time. But Downey’s performance is probably the best that the Marvel Cinematic Universe has seen so far. And it’s not just the final scene where he sacrifices himself to save the world either. Downey is phenomenal in any given scene, making the unbelievable feel real. And he shows some real range in this movie instead of just being a sarcastic asshole most of the time.

So why aren’t Disney and Marvel pushing Robert Downey Jr. for Best Actor? Maybe Robert Downey Jr. didn’t want to be part of an awards campaign. Perhaps the studios were worried that the Academy would be split on whether or not Downey should be considered for Best Actor or Best Supporting Actor. It’s ultimately up to voters to determine which category a performer ends up in, and maybe the studios just didn’t think it would make it through on either one because of that. Maybe we’ll find out once awards season really starts heating up.

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