Awards Profile 2019: Anthony and Joe Russo’s ‘Avengers: Endgame’ From Walt Disney Studios

Welcome to the 2019 Awards Profile series, where we talk about films coming to a theater near you in the coming year (at least at this time of writing). The series analyzes the films and their awards season potential, most notably for the Academy Awards, based on the talents attached, filmmakers involved, and story and source material.  Monday through Friday until mid-May, AwardsCircuit will bring you a new and exciting project and discuss its chances for success. If you have a suggestion for a movie we should cover, include it in the comments section below. If you miss a film covered, click on the tag or category for “Awards Profile.”

FILM: “Avengers: Endgame”

DISTRIBUTOR: Walt Disney Studios
DIRECTOR: Anthony and Joe Russo
PRODUCER: Kevin Feige
WRITER(S): Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely (based on “The Avengers” by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby)
CAST: Robert Downey, Jr.; Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Mark Ruffalo, Chadwick Boseman, Brie Larson, Tom Holland, Benedict Cumberbatch, Zoe Saldana, Bradley Cooper, Chris Pratt, Don Cheadle, Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Bettany, Evangeline Lilly, Jeremy Renner, Josh Brolin, Letitia Wright, Gwyneth Paltrow, Sebastian Stan, Tom Hiddleston, Anthony Mackie, Benedict Wong, Dave Bautista, Karen Gillan, Pom Klementieff, Katharine Langford, Frank Grillo, Paul Rudd, Jon Favreau, Hiroyuki Sanada, and Stan Lee
SYNOPSIS: After the devastating events of Avengers: Infinity War (2018), the universe is in ruins. With the help of remaining allies, the Avengers assemble once more in order to undo Thanos’ actions and restore order to the universe. (IMDB)

SCHEDULED RELEASE: April 26, 2019

POTENTIAL HIGHLIGHTS:

Given the excess of profits earned from “Avengers: Infinity War” and “Black Panther,” it looks like 2019 will be the second consecutive year that a Marvel Cinematic Universe film claims the coveted position of top domestic grosser. The buildup to this final confrontation with Thanos is deafening, with “Avengers: Endgame” viewed globally being among the most anticipated cultural events in the history of cinema. Everyone – from aloof Academy member to hardcore Marvel devotee — will be tuning in to witness the character fates of these legendary comic book heroes.

Eleven years ago when “Iron Man” was released, no one could have predicted more loyal fanfare towards the MCU than the culmination of the “Star Wars” episodes. This proves how mighty a grip Marvel has on its consumers, who vary in age and superhero interest. The brand has risen past the zeitgeist, becoming more of an overlord that interacts with its people every few months. Simply put: there is no avoiding the clout of Marvel, especially since it recently became the first creative studio to earn a “Best Picture” Academy Award nomination for a superhero movie.

At this year’s Oscar ceremony, Damien Chazelle’s “First Man” snatched the “Visual Effects” Oscar from Marvel once again. This was likely a result of sympathy derived from the film’s shocking snub in top tier categories, including “Best Picture.” Given how visually explosive and grand in scope this final battle is meant to be, Disney will double its efforts to secure that tech trophy once and for all. Although this prize is the best shot “Endgame” has at securing an Academy Award sight unseen, Joe and Anthony Russo have amassed a ton of respect for their directorial partnership. Its respected ensemble of thespians will surely rally to its defense in the heat of awards season, standing behind a towering force of universally binding entertainment like no other. When it comes to titanic blockbusters, their record crashing almost becomes impossible to ignore.

POTENTIAL CHALLENGES:

The Academy has a pattern of pretending to be inclusive to all genres by giving an inch, but then not extending that invite following its initial one. After granting “Black Panther” access to their elite club, it’s difficult to imagine they’d invite a movie of similar ilk, especially one that isn’t an accessible origin story separate from the larger universe. With musical biopics and high concept studio films rising to comparable profitability, there’s no longer a sense of guilt when the highest grossing franchise movie of the year doesn’t receive any upper division Oscar nominations. Unless the Academy reverts to their old rule of enforcing a “Top 10” lineup based on aggregate popularity, “Avengers: Endgame” won’t budge a staunch contingent of superhero skeptics.

There’s also the added competition of “Star Wars: Episode IX” to consider. Given that this is the final installment in the saga for the foreseeable future, Disney might lobby harder for it during awards season. The last time a “Star Wars” movie won a competitive Oscar was 1981 for “Empire Strikes Back.” Since then, subsequent films have come close but have always lost to more appealing highbrow alternatives. However, pitting “Avengers: Endgame” against “Episode IX” means the status changes, and the latter becomes the more prestigious selection. Most importantly, if “Avengers: Infinity War” couldn’t emerge victorious in “Visual Effects” – one of the weakest years on record in which Marvel seemed like a shoo-in champ – it will have near-impossible odds to surmount the rest of the effects-driven Disney titans releasing in 2019.

POTENTIAL AWARD CATEGORIES IN PLAY:

  • Motion Picture (Kevin Feige)
  • Director (Anthony and Joe Russo)
  • Actor in a Supporting Role (Robert Downey, Jr. and/or Chris Evans)
  • Actress in a Supporting Role (Brie Larson)
  • Production Design (Charles Wood)
  • Costume Design (Judianna Makovsky)
  • Film Editing (Jeffrey Ford and Matthew Schmidt)
  • Makeup and Hairstyling (Michelle Diamantides and Vasilios Tanis)
  • Sound Mixing (John Pritchett)
  • Sound Editing (Shannon Mills and Daniel Laurie)
  • Visual Effects (Matt Aitken, Trent Claus, Dan DeLeeuw, Russell Earl, Jamie Hallett, Stuart Penn, and Kelly Port)
  • Original Score (Alan Silvestri)

Does “Avengers: Endgame” have what it takes to go the Oscar distance…or not? Let us know in the comments section below!

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