The morning after Birdman or (I’m Not About to Spell Out the Rest of Its Ridiculous Title) won the Best Picture Oscar over Boyhood, industry observers were quick with their “what does it all mean” hot takes. One popular opinion: this was a way for the film industry to have its gluten-free cake and eat it too. 364 days of the year, superhero movies could be the new coin of the land, with five of 2014’s top ten films originating in comic books, but for one night everyone could be shamed into remembering perhaps they owe it to the art form to do better. The director, Alejandro G. Inarritu, made that point perfectly clear in interviews.
We have to remember that this was long ago enough that people still were only just firing up their “superhero movie fatigue” thinkpieces. Michael Keaton, Emma Stone, and Edward Norton, all three familiar players to superhero movie fans, had made a movie about the death of America’s artistic soul in pursuit of lowest-common-denominator entertainment. Plus, they did it all in a clever, simulate one-take. They were rewarded with a Best Picture trophy.
Since then, Michael Keaton has played a Marvel Studios villain and will reportedly do so again next year in Spider-Man: Far From Home. Now, the increasingly hapless Academy is desperately trying to cobble together the first host-less Oscars telecast in 30 years. With no traditional host nor monologue, the telecast’s producers will instead rely on a series of celebrities to introduce the various segments of the show. They would very much so love it if those celebrities happen to be actors who have played any of the Avengers.
According to THR:
The show’s producers are currently lining up appearances by as many big-name cast members from Marvel’s sprawling Avengers franchise as possible […] Word is that specific details are still being hammered out about how the actors who play the popular characters will be incorporated into the 91st Oscars ceremony.
If the show’s producers can pull off a such a Marvel-ous stunt, it could benefit all involved: the Academy (which would love to serve up a star-studded show), ABC (which could potentially reap ratings benefits if it has an opportunity to promote the Marvel teaming ahead of time) and Disney (which owns not only ABC, but also Marvel).
This is also a year in which it’s looking increasingly certain that Black Panther will receive multiple nominations, including one for Best Picture. Compare that to last year when Wonder Woman was shut out entirely and Logan getting in with a screenplay nomination was considered a breakthrough moment.
The remaking of the Academy obviously continues to broaden the types of films which have a serious shot at Oscar glory, but there’s something so ironic about the preeminent film awards body in the land shunning superheroes for so long only to now turn to them and cry to be saved.
Still, I actually like this idea because after Endgame it’s highly likely the OG Avengers will never appear on screen together again. Turning to as many of them as possible to be the face of this year’s Oscars telecast is a nice way to honor them and acknowledge the hand they’ve had in completely transforming the film industry over the past 10 years.
What do you think? Let me know in the comments.