Film

The Obvious Irony of the Oscars Potentially Turning to the Avengers to Host

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.

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6 comments

  1. I still think that if a Superhero movie gets nominated (but won’t win anyway) for best picture this year, it should be Avengers: Infinity War (which I would also like for best screenplay and I will be extremely upset if it doesn’t win in the best special effect category). Black Panther is my clear forerunner for Best Costume and Into the Spider-verse was clearly the best animated movie of the year. So if they want to line up different hosts, making it the year of the Superhero actors might not be the worst idea. It would be an overreaching theme and it might create some interest. In any case, if they want to do changing moderators, they need some sort of theme for them. Otherwise that would look too random.

    And yes, I know that Infinity War will be at best get the special effect award since Disney decided to push for Black Panther.

  2. Personally I’m fed up already with all these superhero movies… this year we had so many interesting movies that will be ignored completely by the Oscars (such as Bad times at El Royale and The man who killed Don Quixote, to name two)! This is probably the reason I don’t pay much attention to those awards.

    1. Forgive the labored analogy here, but like the U.S. economy, the superhero movie landscape is long overdue for a contraction. History suggests a burnout is inevitable and that there’s only so long the film industry can support so many superheroes per year.

      But Aquaman just banked a billion worldwide. So did Infinity War and Black Panther. Venom somehow became one of Sony’s highest-grossing movies of all time. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse and Ant-Man and the Wasp did or are doing respectable biz. Incredibles 2 was a smash.

      So, when will this all stop? It’s always “maybe next year” and then next year delivers more hits than misses, every time. 2019’s Glass, Captain Marvel, Shazam, Endgame, and Spider-Man: Far From Home are all sure things at the box office. Dark Phoenix will probably flop and I have no idea what to expect from New Mutants, but if both fail it won’t matter much since they are the last vestiges of a Fox superhero universe being taken over by Disney now.

      As for how all of this impacts the Oscars, minimally so far. Black Panther will get a nomination for Best Picture, but probably end up shut out most everywhere else, leaving the superhero movies to again only compete in the tech categories. The biggest embrace of superhero movies at this year’s Oscars will probably be in the form of this proposed Avengers reunion for the presenters instead of in the actual awards handed out. However, this is a precedent-setting area where after Black Panther is nominated for Best Picture it might become a common thing (probably won’t, but still could) which would mean one less spot for an indie which relies on the profile-boost of a nomination just to break even financially.

      1. I fully agree with you, and I guess that at a certain point, and all of a sudden, this will stop. After all, cinema works this way: after the peplum movies of the 60s came the western movies, and then they disappeared too… so the cinecomics wave will also come to a halt, eventually!

        As for the Oscars… I find it incredible that something like Black Panther could get a nomination as Best Picture. To me, this is but a glorified TV series with a big budget and which comes out in cinema theaters… the word “movie” hardly applies to something so serial in nature!

        (but then sagas always existed, I know…)

      2. In defense of Black Panther, it is one of the least serialized Marvel Studios movies in recent memory. There is some carryover from Civil War since that’s where T’Challa was first introduced, but the film is far more standalone than usual for the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

        However, I take your point and it’s something I’ve actually argued myself in the past – these are less movies than they are big budget episodes of the world’s biggest TV show. The only ones which actually crack the awards conversation are those that manage to actually feel at least slightly more stand alone, like Logan, Black Panther, and Wonder Woman. Something like Infinity War, on the other hand, doesn’t even get a minute of consideration for any serious awards because it is so clearly a Part 1 of a two-part season/series finale.

      3. I tend to prefer standalone installments, as I cannot keep track of all the episodes of the MCU. Still, in my mind all these movies are all too similar to each other for me to care anymore…

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