Captain America: The Winter Soldier has been a game changer from the word go. It changed the Marvel Cinematic Universe with a major plot point in its own film, it became one of (if not the) first films to go on record as saying nitpicking through internet video series helped make it a better movie, and it turned Captain America into a brand name much like Iron Man did when it kicked everything off in 2008. But could it make even more history and become the first Marvel Studios film up for Best Picture at the Oscars?
Anthony and Joe Russo have some interesting remarks on the subject, as they told Deadline as much during a sit down they had recently. On one side of the coin, Anthony Russo sees Captain America: The Winter Soldier as a movie that can stand on its own outside of its comic book merits. He describes why in the statement below.
"It’s a real movie, real filmmaking, and it has really high aspirations, in terms of what cinema can be and what it can do, and what our experience of it is. It has every intention on the part of the filmmakers to reach audiences on the deepest level."
While he doesn't outright come out and say it, Anthony Russo makes a good case for the film that he co-directed with his brother, Joe. Take away the comic book references and connections and Captain America: The Winter Soldier is an awesome parable about the dangers of overzealous intelligence gathering and the tyrannical forces that seek to use it to subdue a restless public. If that doesn't sound like Oscar bait, then honestly it's time to ask what does? However, while Joe Russo probably wants an Oscar as much as his brother, and would agree that it's time to shed some golden light on comic flicks, he poses an interesting series of questions as to why this possibility hasn't really become a reality just yet.
"I think you look at all those awards ceremonies, there’s a whole process of advocacy for those awards, right? What is the value of the award (to Marvel)? And why should they spend the money required to go down that road? To create the box office? They already have the box office."
Marvel pictures are already expensive affairs, and an awards campaign would cost them even more capital that they undoubtedly have, but could be considered foolhardy to not spend on their next cinematic endeavor. When the money that goes into an Oscar awards campaign could go towards, say, the pre-production budget on Doctor Strange, you can't blame Marvel for investing their money where it looks like it'll make more sense.
Does Captain America: The Winter Soldier deserve a nomination? Hell yes, it does. Would it be hard to secure a nomination? Without a strong enough animated film, or any other "popular" film to take the dark horse spot of the race, it wouldn't be hard to imagine this film in the running. But could it win? Absolutely not. Stereotypical prestige pictures still have a lock on the actual wins at the Oscars, and anyone who says otherwise should remember that Les Miserables trumped The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey for makeup a couple of years ago.
Joe and Anthony Russo sound like they would mount an Oscar campaign for Captain America: The Winter Solider in a heartbeat, if it wasn't for the fact that they'd be spending money they could put into Captain America 3 on a fruitless pursuit that would yield next to no impact on how the studio does business. Still, should Marvel ever want to get into the business of making awards history, they know who to call if they want to get the ball rolling.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier is now available on Blu Ray, DVD, and Digital HD.