‘Avengers: Endgame’: Why Robert Downey Jr.’s Oscar Odds Just Got Worse

It doesn’t look like Marvel’s Robert Downey Jr. will win an Oscar this year for his performance in ‘Avengers: Endgame.’

There’s still an obvious and ongoing bias against comic book movies winning major awards, including at the Oscars. While we all know some of that streak was broken thanks to Black Panther being up for Best Picture last year, almost everyone had dibs in betting it wouldn’t win.

Now the push is on for the film industry to award Robert Downey Jr. for his contributions to being the patriarch of the MCU. We all remember the Russo Brothers wanting the Oscars to recognize what Downey did for the Marvel franchise and his particular performance in Avengers: Endgame.

Robert Downey Jr.
Marvel’s ‘Avengers: Endgame’ star Robert Downey Jr. (Iron Man) | Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic

Things have changed a bit since then, including Disney putting out a “For Your Consideration” website ad to nominate Endgame for everything other than Best Actor. Downey’s recent actions against nominating him likely contributed.

Does ‘Endgame’ have a shot at all the Oscars Disney wants?

When you see the ad Disney put out for Oscar nominations, you notice they want Endgame to dominate about every award category, including Best Picture. There’s always a possibility it could get a BP nod after Black Panther managed the same for 2019.

Then again, Black Panther was a major cultural experience going beyond the moniker of a “comic book movie.” It’s far more realistic to believe Disney could pull out Best Director nods for the Russos, plus Best Adapted Screenplay for Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely.

The film will definitely be nominated (and likely win) the Best Visual Effects category. Other minor categories may pull out wins as well.

Disney noticeably left out Robert Downey, Jr., which might have been by design due to Downey possibly coming to Disney to take himself out of contention. Perhaps we can look at this as his further attempt to implement an aesthetic distance philosophy away from Marvel.

Robert Downey Jr.’s actions won’t help him win an Oscar

News recently dropped that Downey has no further interest in pursuing an Oscar campaign for a Best Actor nod. He elaborated on this when appearing on Howard Stern’s Sirius XM show by adding he decided not to campaign simply because he knew it would be an uphill climb.

Everyone knows the Oscars still haven’t nominated anyone in the Best Actor category from the MCU, or at least not yet. Stern pointed this out to Downey during the interview, persuading the latter to say he won’t bother putting in any campaign energy.

Let’s make it clear, though: even though Downey isn’t campaigning for himself, it doesn’t mean he still couldn’t somehow gain a nomination if enough industry influencers manage to vote for him.

Many have been championing such a thing as more of a nod to Downey’s overall arc as Tony Stark. Big names like Jon Favreau and likely others staying silent wouldn’t hesitate to place Downey’s name into the mix.

Why do the Oscars ignore comic book movies?

Because Downey has been practicing a form of distance from Marvel to get back to a sense of reality, we might be looking at him removing himself deliberately to uphold his philosophy. On the other hand, he might be looking at a bigger picture and the reality of how strong the Best Actor category is going to be in 2020.

Many movie analysts have predicted a jam-packed list of great male actor performances for Oscar season, likely making it challenging for voters to whittle it down to five candidates.

So far, the biggest favorites are Adam Driver for Marriage Story and Joaquin Phoenix for Joker, with most betting on Driver. You can be sure Downey knows this, making a push for his own Oscar nomination a petty cause.

Maybe we’ll be surprised and he’ll be a last-minute nominee. Then we’d see if he’d also keep an aesthetic distance from the Oscars knowing he wouldn’t win.