Until the 91st Academy Awards were held, the Marvel Cinematic Universe had yet to receive a coveted Oscar. There had been a handful of nominations, ten to be precise, but they were all below the line and never really contended for wins. That changed with “Black Panther,” which brought a new level of prestige and respect to the MCU, with seven nominations and three victories.
Today, we’re going to look at ten instances where MCU contenders were snubbed by the Academy for not only wins but nominations. With “Avengers: Endgame” just days away, could something from that end to Phase Three of the MCU be the latest to contend for Oscar love? It’s certainly a possibility now, especially since “Avengers: Infinity War” did score a nod last year. Keep in mind that this list isn’t necessarily detailing aspects of the MCU that should have received a nomination, but merely ones that deserved consideration and were snubbed. If nothing else, utilize it as a way to look back fondly on some of Marvel’s best performances, technical works, and so on.
Letitia Wright in Best Supporting Actress for “Black Panther” (2018)
dir: Ryan Coogler
Prepare to read a lot about “Black Panther” here. Despite seven nominations and three wins, there were still snubs galore. One such omission by Academy voters was Letitia Wright in Best Supporting Actress. Her scene-stealing role was incredibly entertaining and deserving of its own spinoff. Wright’s turn was easily one of the most enjoyable surprises in an MCU instant classic.
Craig Kyle, Eric Pearson, and Christopher L. Yost in Best Adapted Screenplay for “Thor: Ragnarok” (2017)
dir: Taika Waititi
After “Thor” and “Thor: The Dark World,” a reset was needed. Enter director Taika Waititi, who brought his idiosyncratic comedy stylings to the third outing for the character. “Thor: Ragnarok” is not just an enjoyable action movie, it’s also an utterly hilarious farce. Marvel has never been funnier than it was here. In a perfect world, the script by Craig Kyle, Eric Pearson, and Christopher L. Yost would have received some Best Adapted Screenplay attention.
Jeffrey Ford and Matthew Schmidt in Best Film Editing for “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” (2014)
dir: Anthony Russo and Joe Russo
One of the best parts of “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” is how well the MCU feature simulated the paranoid thrillers of the 1970s. The story, the performances, and even the editing felt straight out of those government conspiracy films. Plus, the way the action is presented is kinetic and as captivating as anything Marvel has released. Editors Jeffrey Ford and Matthew Schmidt definitely should have received more love here; A Best Film Editing nomination wouldn’t have been out of line for this one.
Alan Silvestri in Best Original Score for “The Avengers” (2012)
dir: Joss Whedon
You could just as easily list Alan Silvestri‘s score for “Avengers: Infinity War.” But here, we go back to where some of the iconic musical beats began with “The Avengers.” Silvestri has been snubbed in Best Original Score throughout his career, so this is just another example of that pattern. His work within the MCU is worthy of acclaim. Perhaps that wrong will be righted with “Avengers: Endgame” this year?
James Gunn and Nicole Perlman in Best Adapted Screenplay for “Guardians of the Galaxy” (2014)
dir: James Gunn
Back when “Guardians of the Galaxy” was announced, even MCU fans thought it was facing an uphill battle to succeed. Luckily, thanks in large part to the script by director James Gunn and Nicole Perlman, it was a creative, funny, and unique success story. Stacked against prestige players, they never stood a chance in Best Adapted Screenplay, but there was actually some precursor love here. As such, this was a legitimate snub on the part of Oscar voters.
Jeff Goldblum in Best Supporting Actor for “Thor: Ragnorak” (2017)
dir: Taika Waititi
Doesn’t it feel like Jeff Goldblum has always been destined to play an over the top alien supreme ruler? “Thor: Ragnorak” let Goldblum loose and he had a blast. In an absolutely hilarious romp, he stole scenes repeatedly and could easily have been a Best Supporting Actor player. Alas, it was not meant to be for Goldblum.
Star Spangled Man in Best Original Song for “Captain America: The First Avenger” (2011)
dir: Joe Johnston
Marvel hasn’t gone the Original Song route much throughout the history of the MCU, but when they do, Oscar should take notice. Last year, “All The Stars” was nominated from “Black Panther,” but voters missed the boat with “Captain America: The First Avenger.” There, they could have cited “Star Spangled Man,” though like that movie on the whole, it wasn’t given the due it deserved.
Robert Downey Jr. in Best Actor for “Iron Man” (2008)
dir: Jon Favreau
Going back to where it all started, none of this would have been possible had Robert Downey Jr. not given an iconic performance as Tony Stark in “Iron Man.” His rapid-fire dialogue and captivating portrayal made him a bigger star than ever before, while his work leant some gravitas to a burgeoning idea. Sure, Nick Fury would bring up The Avenger Initiative to Stark at the end of the film, but it’s RDJ who truly set the stage for what we have today. Revisit his performance and you’ll be surprised he did not garner Best Actor consideration. Yes, Downey Jr. got into Supporting Actor that year for “Tropic Thunder,” but this has become his defining role, to say the least.
Ryan Coogler in Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay for “Black Panther” (2018)
dir: Ryan Coogler
Considering how “Black Panther” was nominated in Best Picture and won three Oscars below the line, it’s somewhat puzzling how filmmaker Ryan Coogler was snubbed. To be fair, Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay are tough categories, but the year before “Logan” was tapped in the latter one, so the precedent was there. A big reason why this was the MCU’s most stunning success is due to Coogler. The fact he was omitted from the awards attention truly was a real shame.
Michael B. Jordan in Best Supporting Actor for “Black Panther” (2018)
dir: Ryan Coogler
Once upon a time, the MCU had a villain problem. To be sure, Thanos in “Avengers: Infinity War” and the upcoming “Avengers: Endgame” helped to solve that problem. More than the Mad Titan though, Michael B. Jordan‘s Erik Killmonger is Marvel’s best bad guy. His complex and moving performance was legitimately Academy Award worthy. Jordan was snubbed last year in Best Supporting Actor, and it was a shame. Just go back to his final speech at the end of “Black Panther,” it’s a tremendous moment. Of all the MCU snubs, this one is the most egregious.