Recently, Disney revealed their For Your Consideration page for Avengers: Endgame, and there was a curious omission from the list of potential nominees: Robert Downey Jr. While Endgame has a huge cast, Downey Jr. is the lead, and on top of that, this was his swan song as Tony Stark, AKA Iron Man. As it turns out, this wasn’t simply a goof or some sort of sign of bad blood between Disney and Downey Jr. In a new interview, the actor revealed he personally declined to campaign for an Oscar. Downey Jr. also weighed-in on Martin Scorsese‘s recent comments on superhero films.
Does Robert Downey Jr. deserve an Oscar for his work in Avengers: Endgame? It’s debatable. The actor does get to go out with a big emotional scene, and one might even argue that he earned the award after playing the same role for a decade. But whether or not Downey Jr. deserves the award, it was still surprising when we learned that Disney wasn’t including him on their For Your Consideration list for Endgame. Big studios almost always campaign their films and the stars of their films, because they figure they have nothing to lose.
So why wasn’t Downey Jr. included? We have the answer, and it’s pretty simple: he didn’t feel like it. “I’m so glad you brought this up because there was some talk about it, and I said ‘let’s not’,” the actor said while appearing on The Howard Stern Show. “I’ll tell you the truth. I didn’t expect [the Marvel Cinematic Universe] to become what it became, and it is this very large, multiheaded Hydra at this point.”
Downey Jr.’s position is admirable. Oscar campaigns are similar to political campaigns – actors usually have to do a lot of hand-shaking and attend a laundry list of events to even be seriously considered by the Academy. Downey Jr. is clearly fine with avoiding all of that, and who can blame him? He’s content to just sit back and count his money.
During the course of the Stern interview, Downey Jr. was asked about Martin Scorsese’s recent comments on superhero movies. In case you need a refresher, here’s what Scorsese said:
“I don’t see them. I tried, you know? But that’s not cinema. Honestly, the closest I can think of them, as well made as they are, with actors doing the best they can under the circumstances, is theme parks. It isn’t the cinema of human beings trying to convey emotional, psychological experiences to another human being.”
Those comments didn’t go over so well with superhero movie fans, but Downey Jr.’s reaction was pretty diplomatic. “It’s his opinion,” the actor said. “I mean it plays in theaters. I appreciate his opinion because I think it’s like anything. We need all of the different perspectives so we can come to the center and move on.”
Downey Jr. then summed things up:
“In his view — and by the way, there’s a lot to be said for how these genre movies, and I was m happy to be part of the problem if there is one — denigrated the art form of cinema. When you come in like a stomping beast and you eliminate the competition in such a demonstrative way, it’s phenomenal.”
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