For years, many have talked about the possibility of Marvel Cinematic Universe projects contending for major Oscar categories like Best Picture, but none have won anything yet. With Avengers: Infinity War set to debut this year and offer up a spectacle unlike anything that we have seen from the MCU before, that conversation has once again kicked into high-gear. In fact, Infinity War screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely addressed that topic while speaking to CinemaBlend and other outlets during a visit to the film’s set last year, and they admitted that they think Marvel movies deserve more Oscar recognition due to the scope and scale of the MCU. The writing duo explained:
Christopher Markus: People mumble about it with various movies, for various reasons. There was an article about Wonder Woman [recently], and there’s articles about Logan, none of which are us. I think someone has to come to Jesus, so to speak, and take a look at the amount of work that’s been done.
Stephen McFeely: You can work very hard on a crappy movie. You’re not just rewarding work.
Markus: No but, Return of the King is no better or worse than the other two. It got cumulative awards. And frankly, if you go back and look at it you’re like, ‘Really, you gave that Oscars?’ Maybe they had extra Oscars that year.
McFeely: Two Towers is better, let’s face it.
As good as Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King is, and as much success as it saw (at the box office and at the Oscars), Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely arguably have a point. At this stage, the Oscars have sometimes been accused of rewarding films or actors based on a collective body of work, rather than the work done on a specific movie, as many have concluded that Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers is actually the superior film. For Marvel movies to get the recognition that the writers think they deserve, it will take a collective changing of opinions for people to acknowledge the quality of these films and reward them appropriately.
There’s already historical precedent for blockbusters of this nature to get prestige recognition at the Academy Awards. Films like Star Wars: A New Hope and Raiders of the Lost Ark received Best Picture and Best Director nominations (among many others) after their respective theatrical releases. These movies received acknowledgment for the skill of their execution, so technically speaking, there’s no real reason for Marvel movies not to receive the same warm welcome if they can achieve the same level of quality — at least, that’s how Markus and McFeely see it.
The explanation of the MCU’s Oscar-worthiness did not stop there. Elsewhere in the conversation, Christopher Markus opened up and further explained how there’s room for simple-yet-effective stories to win at the Oscars (think Moonlight or The Shape of Water) just as much as there is room for a behemoth (yet well-executed) franchise like Marvel to win big. Markus continued:
It’s like diving. The degree of difficulty. I think sometimes people are like, ‘That movie was really simple and pure and should get an award.’ And that’s great, but you should also go, ‘Holy shit, that was a crazy complicated dive and they did it.’ But the Oscars are not actually an accurate measure of anything.
It’s far too early to know if Avengers: Infinity War will eventually go on to contend for an Oscar, but we will have a much better understanding of its chances when it debuts in theaters on April 27. For now, you can also make sure to catch Black Panther (yet another topic in the Oscar conversation), which is still in theaters and dominating the box office.