There's no need to cry for Avengers: Endgame, but it did just make Oscars history in a sad trombone way. Turns out, it's the first film to hold the title of highest-grossing movie of all time and not win a single Academy Award. Always a trend-setter, that Marvel Cinematic Universe!
Avengers: Endgame was only nominated for one 2020 Oscar, and that's after Disney's whole campaign submitted 13 actors in the cast "for your consideration." It just got the one nomination -- Best Visual Effects. It didn't even win that award, the honor went to 1917 (which lost Best Picture, despite being considered a frontrunner going into the show).
So Avengers: Endgame walked away with no trophies -- but, of course, Marvel still has those piles and piles of cash.
Still, this is an opportunity for James Cameron to smirk a little, since both of his #1 movies in the world won multiple Oscars. Titanic was nominated in 14 categories in 1998 -- a tie with All About Eve for the most nominations, at the time -- and it won 11 Oscars -- a tie with Ben-Hur for the most wins by a single movie, at the time. One of those many wins was Best Picture.
James Cameron's Avatar, which just lost the highest-grossing title to Avengers: Endgame last summer, was also nominated for Best Picture during its Oscars ceremony in 2010. It did not win, and James Cameron didn't get the Best Director Oscar that time, but Avatar did win Best Visual Effects, Best Art Direction, and Best Cinematography. It was also nominated in several other categories, including Film Editing, Score, and the two sound categories.
Of course, whenever anyone talks about Avengers: Endgame or Avatar as the highest-grossing movies, you have to mention that's not adjusting for inflation over the years. When we do adjust for inflation, Gone with the Wind is still the winner. That movie swept the 1940 Oscars with a record at the time of 13 nominations, picking up eight wins, including "Outstanding Production."
On that adjusted gross list, the first Star Wars movie is actually still above Avengers: Endgame. The "adjusted" list of highest-grossing movies is currently Gone with the Wind, Avatar, Titanic, Star Wars, Avengers: Endgame, The Sound of Music, E.T., The Ten Commandments, Doctor Zhivago, and Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
Most of those movies were also at one point in time the highest-grossing movie ever made. However, there are other films that held that title at one point but aren't on the top 10 all-time adjusted list. And they DID win Oscars, unlike Avengers: Endgame. Jurassic Park, Jaws, and The Godfather all belong on that highest-grossing-at-the-time/Oscar-winning list.
By the way, never mind James Cameron -- give it up for Steven Spielberg for having three movies that were the highest-grossing movies of all time at one point AND they all won Oscars. That's E.T., Jurassic Park, and Jaws for him.
Fandom helpfully created a chart to show Avengers: Endgame's place in history as the only King Of The World to not get any love from the Academy:
Can't win 'em all! Avengers: Endgame is still the reigning highest-grossing movie of all time. Granted, James Cameron is pretty sure that's not going to last, since Avatar will probably get another re-release in theaters before Avatar 2 arrives in 2021. But even he acknowledges that Endgame finding such huge success in the highly competitive streaming age of 2019 gives hope to other blockbuster films. The cinematic experience is far from over.
And Avengers: Endgame co-director Joe Russo pointed to Joker's many Oscar nominations as giving hope to other superhero films that the cinematic world (but not Martin Scorsese) may be ready to take comic book movies more seriously on a regular basis.
Gina grew up in Massachusetts and California in her own version of The Parent Trap. She went to three different middle schools, four high schools, and three universities -- including half a year in Perth, Western Australia. She currently lives in a small town in Maine, the kind Stephen King regularly sets terrible things in, so this may be the last you hear from her.
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