Awards Profile: Avengers: Age of Ultron

ultron
Welcome to the 2015 Awards Profiles series.  For the next two months, every day (except for Saturday), we will bring you a run down of a future 2015 film that we see as a potential awards vehicle for next year’s Academy Awards.  This is all speculative since with just about all these films, we haven’t seen a frame yet.  Nonetheless, we venture on.  If you miss a film, then click on the tag “2015 Awards Profile.”

Directed by Joss Whedon
Written by Joss Whedon
Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johanssen, Jeremy Renner, Elizabeth Olsen, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, James Spader, Idris Elba, Samuel L. Jackson, Don Cheadle, Paul Bettany, Andy Serkis
Synopsis: When Tony Stark tries to jumpstart a dormant peacekeeping program, things go awry and it is up to the Avengers to stop the villainous Ultron from enacting his terrible plans.

Why It Could Succeed

$$$ + Quality = Oscar?. By the time the dust settles on the year, Avengers: Age of Ultron is going to be in or very close to the top 5 grossing movies of all time. And despite the Academy being set in their ways, it would be hard to leave this movie out if it reaches that milestone and, this is important, is critically loved. The Academy can be incredibly sensitive after a bad show and it would surprise me if they let in a populist film like this if it was good.

Star Power. At a certain point in writing the Starring credits I had to stop because it seems like every SAG actor is in this movie. In addition to actors the general public love, there’s Whedon behind the camera, Ben Davis, who just did the cinematography for Guardians of the Galaxy, returning to the same role here, Danny Elfman composing the music, Jeffrey Ford, who edited the hell out of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, editing this film with Lisa Lassek, and of course Kevin Feige at the helm.

Why It Could Fail
Comic Book/Franchise Bias. Yes The Dark Knight managed 8 nominations and significant wins but that feels like eons ago (nevermind that 2008 felt like a weak film year, for the prestige fare anyways). The Academy is still ever resistant to franchise films, especially if they didn’t nominate the first one in a large way. Despite the first Avengers making a ton of money and (at the time) being the best Marvel movie, it still only managed one nod for its visual effects. It’s hard to see them going for the sequel unless it hits Batman level zeitgiest.

Oscar Potential
If the Academy goes to a straight 10…
Best Picture (Extreme Long Shot)
Best Art Direction
Best Costume Design
Best Editing
Best Original Score
Best Visual Effects
Best Sound Mixing
Best Sound Editing

If the Academy stays with the sliding scale or goes to 5…
Best Art Direction
Best Costume Design
Best Original Score
Best Visual Effects
Best Sound Mixing
Best Sound Editing