I really do not mean to patronize anybody with this post but I have been giving “fringe” candidates a platform to make their case for Oscar nominations, and it seems that I have been presented with yet another worthy candidate. It has come to my attention that Goldderby.com, one of the most prolific odds making sites for the Oscars, currently has “Avengers: Endgame” as the 16th best odds in the Best Picture category and that is just asinine. I always say that 50% of people are stupider than average and clearly those people have significant pull here. I will be as objective as possible here, laying out the cases for why it should not be nominated and then why it should, as I always do, but I am really disappointed that I even have to do that for this film.
WHY IT WON’T HAPPEN
Old people. It is no secret that the Academy has the reputation of being behind the curve with a few of their social stances. Everyone and their mothers remember the #OscarsSoWhite controversy of 2012, where all 20 nominated actors were white. That social pariah stemmed from the voting population of the Academy being something like 91% old white people. Since then, the Oscars have made a concerted effort to add more diverse opinions to their voting population, but they have not lost any of the old voters, just diluted their influence. While there has been a noticeable change in direction for the organization, we are still significantly far away from saying the Academy is progressive. And old people just do not take Marvel films seriously. They rarely, if ever, give any blockbuster a seat at the big kids’ table and it feels really naïve to believe they will all of the sudden have a change of heart now.
This is only further compounded by the fact that Martin Scorsese, one of the most influential filmmakers ever in Hollywood, recently made a public statement where he declared that Marvel films aren’t even cinema in his opinion. I understand that most people nowadays would disagree with that evaluation, but this is Martin Scorsese we are talking about. Who are we to tell HIM anything about what is and isn’t cinema? And even if everyone disagreed with him, his words do influence the narrative. When he speaks, people listen. When you consider that his film “The Irishman” is in a virtual tie for the best odds to win Best Picture this year, there is little doubt that the Academy and its voters are paying attention to what he is saying. Like I said, “Endgame” is only sitting at 16th best odds, 6 removed from the minimum placing it needs to score a nomination, and all it takes is just a few voters to consider his opinions to stop the nomination from happening at all.
And a very important fact that most people do not consider is that these films do not exist in a vacuum, especially when it comes to these award races. We have to consider the fact that 2019 has been an exceptionally strong year for film, which is objectively a good thing. There have already been so many great films released with many more highly anticipated ones on the horizon, this year’s Oscar races are shaping up to be incredibly crowded. If the Academy was ever compelled to do something out of the ordinary such as give a superhero film a Best Picture nomination, it is more likely to happen in a year when there are fewer films that have a case as well. It is simple math. If there is less competition, it is easier to stand out. They can only give out 10 nominations AT MOST (They are not obligated to nominate 10, just a minimum of 5) and with so many worthy films this year, “Endgame” simply may not even have any opportunity.
WHY IT ABSOLUTELY SHOULD HAPPEN
The term “Best Picture” is pretty subjective but my rule of thumb is to go with the film that will be remembered most. Every year, we get a crop of by-the-book dramas that usually get nominations that push comic book films out of the conversation even though they are mostly unremarkable. It is why I am so disappointed by the abject blandness that was “Green Book” winning last year. The only reason people remember it is because they are upset it won it all! When it comes down to it, “Endgame” is the film that epitomizes 2019 most. In 10 or 15 years, which film from this year will have the longest-lasting legacy? There may be some other good ones but you are out of your mind if you think this isn’t the signature film of the year.
Let’s also look at some of the arguments made against this. Did you notice that none of those had anything to do with the quality of the film? And that is because if anybody were to argue that “Avengers: Endgame” was not the most successful film of the year they would be objectively wrong. “Endgame” has been met with near-universal praise. No one in their right minds could even construct an argument to say that it wasn’t an amazing film and an unparalleled cinematic experience. But let’s not forget that it is now the HIGHEST GROSSING FILM OF ALL-TIME, a title that actually means something to more than just the stockholders of Disney. The last two films to carry that title, “Avatar” and “Titanic” both received Oscar Nominations for Best Picture.
Even if you are like Scorsese and believe that the genre isn’t sophisticated enough to be taken seriously, you can’t argue how culturally significant the MCU has been. The franchise has spawned multiple billion-dollar grossing films that have spanned over a decade, culminating in a complex overarching story that runs through 21 films. That in itself is an absurd accomplishment, but the fact that they were able to make a competent and exciting, definitive conclusion to the first decade of the franchise is both a monumental achievement in writing and producing that is very much worthy of recognition. Even if your head is buried so far up your ass that you choose to belittle the genre, that doesn’t change the fact that it very much IS cinema and it has had a profound impact on the entire medium. And let’s not pretend like “Black Panther”, an introductory, solo film of minor “big picture” significance to the totality of the franchise, was nominated for Best Picture just last year. Don’t tell me it can’t happen, because it did happen, and it absolutely can happen again.
If you can look me square in the face and tell me that “Avengers: Endgame” isn’t even a Top 10 film this year, then you are a professional liar and could probably kill a bunny without flinching. If voting was decided purely on merit alone, this would be a mortal lock. Get out of here with this nonsense that “Endgame” isn’t even worthy of a nomination. “Endgame” is the winner of the whole damn thing if I were voting and everyone knows I am the truest authority on these things. Unfortunately, politics plays such a major role in the whole process and change is scary, especially to old people. But, even though Goldderby.com only has “Endgame” in 16th place, I still have faith that voters will get this right and give it its rightful recognition.