The talk of someone from the MCU winning an Oscar still makes some people howl, while others take it slightly more seriously. After the Russo Brothers suggested Robert Downey, Jr. should be nominated for an Oscar after his Endgame performance, some people did sit up to take notice.
While Downey recused himself from a nomination, another actor in the MCU’s Guardians of the Galaxy franchise has a bevy of fans who consider her underappreciated. These fans are referring to Karen Gillan who plays the troubled Nebula. Her past performance has been marked by fans and even critics as being Oscar-worthy. When looking a little more carefully, there really is merit to that claim. The amount of pain Gillan projected as Nebula likely took considerable insight.
What have critics said about Karen Gillan’s performance?
Gillan first started playing Nebula in 2014’s Guardians of the Galaxy, with her introduction noting her as one of Thanos’ children. She was also a step-sister to the adopted Gamora, albeit the two becoming overly competitive.
Whenever Nebula lost in combat with Gamora, Thanos would torture Nebula by replacing her body parts with cybernetic technology. One could look at this as the ultimate parental abuse, something affecting the mindset of Nebula from then on.
To make things worse, the bad relationship with Gamora also affected her mental state. Only later when the two have a showdown on the planet Ego do the two have an overdue emotional bonding, according to ScreenRant.
Many critics thought Gillan’s performance in that scene alone was one of the most powerful of any scene in the MCU. As seen in the tweet above, movie critic William Bibbiani also thought Gillan should be nominated for an Oscar after her more recent performance in Avengers: Endgame.
Karen Gillan fully exhibited the tortured mind of Nebula
By the time Endgame came out, Nebula had turned into one of the most intriguing antiheroes in the entire franchise. Gillan’s performance only grew more complex in Endgame because of how Nebula had to confront her own past self in 2014 and attempt to kill her.
Gillan acted these scenes with aplomb, not including exhibiting emotional catharsis in finally doing away with her abusive father. Add her sturdy work in keeping Tony Stark company on the space station, plus going with War Machine to gather the Power Stone, and you see Nebula was a bit busy.
Through all of this, Gillan was compelling, something even fans note. Over on Reddit, threads still have users chiming in with comments of how Gillan deserved an Oscar nomination. Perhaps Downey knew this as well, hence recusing himself to not make it look like he was stealing her thunder.
What are the chances of Karen Gillen really winning an Oscar?
The MCU truly made Gillan a big star worldwide after only really being known for a role in Doctor Who prior. Before that, she mostly worked in British TV productions, or in her native Scotland. Since her time joining The Guardians of the Galaxy franchise, Gillen has been acted in various movies and TV projects ranging from comedies, thrillers, to dramas.
Her current role as Nebula is arguably her most dramatic work to date, setting her up to play other women characters with similar psyches. She really got under the skin of Nebula, however, possibly making it her most defining work.
It does set her up to play a darker human role and move into real Oscar contention. Unfortunately, because of the stigma of the MCU not being Oscar-worthy, her work as Nebula may not be truly appreciated until years from now. Call it ironic cybernetic Nebula will perhaps be the most human character she ever plays.