Robert Downey Jr. has revealed that he won’t be campaigning for his role as Tony Stark in the Marvel Cinematic Universe to be considered for an Academy Award.
The 54-year-old, who played the sarky billionaire superhero for 11 years before being killed off in Avengers: Endgame, made the admission in response to filmmaker Martin Scorsese’s criticism that Marvel movies “are not cinema.”
“I’m so glad you brought that up, because there was some talk about [an Academy Award] and I said, let’s not,” he told Howard Stern on the Howard Stern radio show.
However, Downey Jr. added that he felt that the influence the Marvel Cinematic Universe has had in cinema is “phenomenal”, regardless of Scorsese’s view.
“He’s Martin Scorsese, of course he’s not [jealous],” he said. “There’s a lot to be said about how these genre movies, and I was happy to be part of the problem if there is one, ‘denigrated’ the era and the artform of cinema.
“When you come in like a stomping beast and you eliminate the competition in such a demonstrative way, it’s phenomenal.”
While Downey Jr. may have rejected receiving an Oscar for his performance as Tony Stark, it hasn’t stopped fans trying to push him forward for one.
Several Change.org petitions were started in order to ensure Downey Jr. is nominated for Best Actor After fans noticed his performance in Avengers: Endgame was not put forward by Disney for consideration by the Academy of Motion Pictures.
One passionate petition read: “Robert Downey Jr deserves an Oscar for his great performance in each Marvel movie and deserves credit for starting the biggest film franchise currently.”
And it’s not just fans who believe Downey Jr. deserves the award, with directors Joe and Anthony Russo backing the actor.
“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 theatres, hyperventilating. That is a profound performance, when you can touch audiences all over the world to that degree,” Joe Russo told the Daily Beast.
“We’ve never seen anything like that, and if that doesn’t deserve an Oscar, I don’t know what does.”
While some film snobs are still against superhero movies receiving Academy Awards, it looks as if the tide may be changing in Marvel Studios’ favour.
Black Panther won three Oscars at this year’s ceremony, having also been nominated for Best Picture – the first Marvel, and superhero film to have done so.