Mild spoilers ahead.
The name "Stark" was synonymous with "hero" last week, from Avengers: Endgame to Game of Thrones. For Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark, Endgame marked his crowning achievement in the Marvel Cinematic Universe he helped found with Iron Man back in 2008. RDJ's performance, and career as a whole, have led some to push his name forward for very early Oscars 2020 consideration.
Robert Downey Jr., now 54, has had a fascinating career with major highs and extreme lows. He does have two previous Oscar nominations under his belt -- Best Actor for Chaplin in 1993 and Best Supporting Actor for Tropic Thunder in 2009 -- but no wins so far.
It's early to be putting Robert Downey Jr.'s name out there for Oscars consideration without knowing the rest of the potential competition in 2019, but several fans are already on board.
Some fans are already pushing for Robert Downey Jr. to not just be nominated for an Oscar, but to definitely win:
Marvel is busy promoting Avengers: Endgame -- as if it needs any marketing to sell tickets -- and highlighting praise for the performances:
The Russo Brothers, who directed both Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame, also seem down with a Downey Oscar win. Joe Russo didn't specify any moments from Endgame in particular when talking to the Washington Post, but he praised RDJ's entire career:
His cumulative body of work from these movies is staggering. If you look at the work over just even the last four [Marvel] films he’s done, it’s phenomenal. ... He deserves an Oscar perhaps more than anyone in the last 40 years because of the way that he has motivated popular culture.
That sounds dangerously close to the dreaded popular movie Oscar, so let's just stick to the idea of awarding Robert Downey Jr. for his performance. The man has a presence! He has carried this multi-billion-dollar franchise on his charismatic back. He has also shown he can believably carry Tony Stark from one-liners to deep emotion -- making us laugh, cry, or both depending on what he wants to deliver with a snap of his fingers.
Anthony Russo recently said Robert Downey Jr. had mixed emotions about Tony Stark's storyline in Endgame, but ultimately accepted it. It doesn't require spoilers to say Tony was just one of many characters to face massive changes in Endgame. We knew going in that Avengers 4 would shake up the MCU, and that certainly happened.
Right now, Avengers: Endgame is busy taking everyone's money. It is set to pass $2 billion this weekend, possibly on the way to beating Avatar. But even if it doesn't, it's still one of the biggest pop culture events of our lifetimes.
We just have to see if the buzz can carry through to the end of 2019, when the Oscar talk really heats up. Usually major movies open in late fall, with more dramatic thespian roles getting eyed for Academy Awards. But Black Panther stayed on the radar until Oscar night, so there's no reason why RDJ's fans can't at least hope that he is remembered by the Academy when nominations are announced in early 2020.
Do you think RDJ deserves an Oscar nomination for Avengers: Endgame? Vote in the poll below.