There’s been a lot of talk over the past few days about Joker’s enthusiastic reception at The Venice Film Festival, but don’t expect that to be the only superhero/ comic book movie to make noise during award season. There’s been a lot of buzz about Avengers: Endgame since its release, and now, the film’s directors, The Russo Brothers, are making it clear they’re ready to campaign for star Robert Downey Jr.
Here are some of the comments the duo made during an interview with The Daily Beast…
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.
Much of the chatter surrounding the award season every year, both in the categories honoring entire films and in the categories honoring individual achievements, always comes back to expectations and what best really means. Is the Oscar supposed to go to the movie or performance that we all liked the most? Is it supposed to go to the most daring or the one we’ll remember in 20 years? Everyone has different expectations, and the end result usually ends up being that most big budget event films are passed over for smaller, lesser seen movies with more morally complicated questions at their centers. Now and again, however, there are less conventional movies that are just too seen, too well-liked and too well-reviewed to ignore.
Will that be Avengers: Endgame this awards season? You have to think the film will pick up several behind the scenes nominations, and it’s certainly in play for some of the more visible categories, as well. The film is 94% on Rotten Tomatoes with a majority of the reviews of the strong recommend variety. Even though the MCU is going to go on, the loss of several characters and various actors leaving the franchise gives it a feeling of finality, and Robert Downey Jr has long been an Academy favorite, netting two previous acting nominations for Chaplin and Tropic Thunder, the latter of which was also an extremely unconventional selection. He's also, obviously, really good in the film too. Hard to imagine any single role in 2019 will make more people cry.
As such, there really is a strong chance here. It may ultimately come down to how much Disney decides to push the film. There was allegedly a lot of support that went into getting Black Panther recognized by voters, and if Disney is willing to spend the same amount for Endgame, we could see something special.
To be clear, “spending” doesn’t mean giving voters money in exchange for picking your movie. It means sending out screener copies to every voter. It means having your talent do the talk show rounds to keep the film on everyone’s radar. It means conveying to voters that Avengers: Endgame is a viable contender that should be considered.
We’ll keep you updated on Robert Downey Jr’s chances as some of the precursors to the Oscars start announcing their nominations.