Avengers directors, Joe and Anthony Russo, claim Robert Downey Jr deserves an Oscar for his performance in Avengers: Endgame.
The pair bemoaned the fact that awards-givers often overlook the most commercially successful films, making it hugely difficult for actors and directors to win awards for their work in the superhero sub-genre.
“It’s certainly as difficult as it gets—without question,” Joe Russo told The Daily Beast. “On a scale of 1-10, this is a 12. We’ll say this: there certainly is a disconnect between the Academy and popular audiences. It started about 20 years ago. If you go back and look at the Academy Awards up until that point, they were in sync with popular audiences.”
There’s a ring of truth to Russo’s sentiment and in recent years big-budget blockbusters haven't been in the awards-firing-line. Compare the $200m budget of 1997’s Best Picture, Titanic, and the $356m spent making Avengers Endgame, to the circa $4m budget of 2016 winner, Moonlight, or even the $23m spent on 2018 winner, Green Book.
The brothers argued that Robert Downey Jr’s ability to connect with such huge audiences, in his role as Iron Man, should force the Academy to consider him for an Oscar at this year’s awards.
“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,” said Russo.
“There were people bawling in movie theaters, hyperventilating. That is a profound performance, when you can touch audiences all over the world to that degree. We’ve never seen anything like that, and if that doesn’t deserve an Oscar, I don’t know what does.”
Black Panther set a precedent in February after becoming the first superhero film to be nominated for Best Picture. It also won three lesser awards for Best Costume Design, Best Production Design and Best Score.
That, at least, shows that Oscars voters may be opening up to the idea of recognising superhero films.