Marvel Studios’ Oscar push for Black Panther paid off after it won three Academy Awards, and now it’s looking to replicate some of that success with the reveal of its full Oscar submissions list for Avengers: Endgame.
Disney’s initial For Your Consideration push was posted in October, which included submissions for 13 Oscar categories including best picture, best director, and best adapted screenplay. Now, Disney has updated its submissions list to include 13 of Endgame’s stars to be considered in best supporting actor and best supporting actress, several of whom have either won Oscars or have previously been nominated. The acting list features both the players you’d expect as well as some head-scratchers; some of these actors are barely in Endgame.
Best supporting actor:
- Robert Downey Jr.
- Chris Evans
- Mark Ruffalo
- Chris Hemsworth
- Jeremy Renner
- Josh Brolin
- Paul Rudd
- Don Cheadle
Best supporting actress:
- Scarlett Johansson
- Gwyneth Paltrow
- Zoe Saldana
- Karen Gillan
- Brie Larson
It’s highly likely that Avengers: Endgame will come out of Oscar season with some nominations—and maybe even a couple of wins—but as far as the film’s chances in acting categories? Don’t count on it.
It’s a really strong acting year
Although it didn’t result in a nomination, Black Panther had a clear standout in its all-star cast: Michael B. Jordan as Killmonger. In Endgame, which featured just about every superhero to grace the screen since 2008’s Iron Man, it’s more of an ensemble cast, and Downey Jr., Evans, and Hemsworth especially stand out with the biggest roles to play in the film. Other submissions are for even smaller roles, and in the case of Brolin, Thanos’ big showcase was Infinity War, not Endgame.
Out of those three, Downey Jr. has a stronger performance, with Tony’s drive being both the emotional crux of Endgame and the final culmination of Iron Man’s role in the Marvel Cinematic Universe over the past decade. If he was nominated, it’d be something like an acknowledgment of what he’s accomplished (not unlike the final season of a game-changing TV show), and he could be a dark horse nominee.
Downey Jr.’s biggest hurdle? His competition. While not as stacked as the best actor race, the supporting actor race is already starting to become clear. Early contenders include Al Pacino and Joe Pesci for The Irishman, Tom Hanks in A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, Anthony Hopkins in The Two Popes, Jamie Foxx in Just Mercy, and Brad Pitt in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.
The other major hurdle? He might not want to play the game. Last month, Downey Jr. (who’s been nominated twice) indicated that he didn’t want to campaign for an Oscar, although it’s possible that he’s changed his mind since then. Then again, Pitt initially said he didn’t want to campaign either (something he’s since backtracked on) and he’s considered the front-runner. While actors have won Oscars without campaigning for it, it doesn’t happen often anymore.
For one actress, an Oscar rule makes her nomination for Endgame incredibly unlikely
Most of Endgame’s female characters got the short end of the stick; aside from Johansson as Black Widow (whose death was highly controversial) and Gillan as Nebula, most had small roles. (Larson is barely in Endgame!) Out of those two actresses, Johansson, who’s been in the MCU since Iron Man 2, comes in with having been attached to a single role for nearly a decade.
But examining how effective of an Oscar narrative using Johansson’s MCU legacy is is practically already a moot point. For one, the supporting actress race is an embarrassment of riches that includes Laura Dern, Jennifer Lopez, Margot Robbie, and Maggie Smith. But that list also includes Johansson herself, assuming that some of her controversial comments aren’t a deterrent.
Johansson already has two films out in theaters, Jojo Rabbit and Marriage Story, that are already mixed into the awards season chatter. She’ll compete for best actress for Marriage Story (the film that is most likely to give Johansson her first Oscar nomination). But she’s a supporting actress contender for Jojo Rabbit, which is a much stronger performance. According to Oscar eligibility rules, an actor is only allowed to be nominated for one film in a single category; if they receive nominations for two movies, only one is chosen. So while it’s entirely possible for Johansson to receive two acting Oscar nominations this year, there is little chance that one of them will be for Avengers: Endgame.
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