ST. LOUIS — A great movie is a great movie.
There shouldn't be an asterisk attached due to the fact that one film has tights and superpowers while the other has loads of makeup and dread.
For the longest time, the Academy Awards refuse to give more respect to two different factions of the movie game: comic book adaptations/inspired films and stunt work. While the latter is still unlikely to occur, what about the former?
Example 1: Christopher Nolan's "The Dark Knight" was legitimately snubbed 11 years ago. Heath Ledger may have won a posthumous award for his breathtaking work as the Joker, but the film was an outright beast. Nolan's masterpiece won critical acclaim and box office victories-yet couldn't crack the list.
Example 2: "Avengers: Infinity War" won critical acclaim and box office majesty ranks last year, and didn't receive any Oscar cred. The film scored high on Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic, but just wasn't good enough for even a sniff of the main categories.
Example 3: "Avengers: Endgame" scored a 94% on Rotten Tomatoes and became the highest grossing film of all time. There was epic action, passionate drama, a brilliant ensemble cast, and even powerful pathos in the end with Robert Downey Jr. and Chris Evans doing some of their best work.
Example 4: What about Michael B. Jordan's work last year as Erik Killmonger in Ryan Coogler's "Black Panther?" He's arguably the best villain the MCU has ever seen, one with dual-sided ambitions and sadness. What about him?
Example 5: This year, it is my belief that Downey Jr. deserves some Academy attention for his soulful work as Tony Stark in "Endgame." Try and watch those final moments and not get a little misty. Just try. That's an Oscar-nominated actor giving it his all there.
My question: what do these films have to do in order to get in? Why are they excluded for their content? All movies are make-believe wagons, whether they are gold-plated or pure iron maiden. What gives, fancy pants voters? Clearly, all of the voters can't be Martin Scorsese and Frances Ford Coppola, who hasn't been relevant for decades.
Todd Phillips' "Joker" has a chance to break the mold and grab not only a Best Picture nomination but screenplay and other major categories. The former comedy director went darker than crimson with Joaquin Phoenix, who will surely grab a Best Actor nomination. What if Phoenix wins and two different actors over a decade apart win for the same comic book-related character? Minds will be blown. Phillips' film grossed over a billion dollars inside a single season and changed the game-but will it result in real consideration?
I hope so.
The Academy needs to rethink their voting methods. They are getting boring. A lot of people didn't care for their "Green Book" win last year, so introduce some anarchy to the situation. Show some love for both the sadistic clown and the world-saving Avengers. If you think Anthony and Joe Russo had it easy crafting a fitting finale to a catalog of 20+ wildly popular films with Oscar-nominated players in their cast, please think again. "Endgame's" running time was less than "The Irishman" and "Once Upon a Time in ... Hollywood" and didn't drag at all, so there should be some consideration for it in Editing as well.
I doubt it will change much, but that won't stop me from ringing the bell and making some noise. That's what I do best. Find out what I am passionate about and crack the hammer, hoping for some thunder on the other end.
"Black Panther" getting nominated for Best Picture last year was a start. Let's hope the Academy continues to grow up and think young. "Avengers: Endgame" was just as strong, if not stronger, than Coogler's film.
Make it snappy, Oscar people.
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