Oscars: 10 MCU movies that should have been nominated for Best Picture

Oscar season is an exciting time for film buffs, but it can also be a bitter reminder to superhero movie fans that many of our favorite films continue to get overlooked for major awards. Let’s review 10 MCU movies that should have been nominated for Best Picture.

IRON MAN - For Disneyphiles everywhere, Freeform will air beloved Disney classics from "Disney-Pixar's Toy Story" to "Disney's The Jungle Book (2016)" and everything in between during the month of September as they celebrate "30 Days of Disney." (Marvel)
IRON MAN - For Disneyphiles everywhere, Freeform will air beloved Disney classics from "Disney-Pixar's Toy Story" to "Disney's The Jungle Book (2016)" and everything in between during the month of September as they celebrate "30 Days of Disney." (Marvel) /
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The Avengers over Argo (2012)

Argo is the only Best Picture nominee on our list that is also the Best Picture winner for its respective year. And the perceptible reason for that is the other 2012 nominees are better than Argo. Not that it is a bad movie, at all, but perhaps it is not a coincidence that Argo is one of the few Best Picture winners in Oscar history where the filmmaker was not nominated for Best Director. There are clearly admirable qualities throughout the film, especially the handling of its Middle Eastern conflict, which, although set in the 1970s, was presented with a contemporary urgency.

At the same time, Argo's stature is not glaringly obvious – somehow Ben Affleck and screenwriter Chris Terrio thought that repeating the line “Argo f*ck yourself” is clever. It lacks the scope of Zero Dark Thirty and Django Unchained and the commanding technique employed by Spielberg and Ang Lee in Lincoln and Life of Pi. The Avengers displays similar attributes to those nominated movies and also incorporates striking, awe-inspiring set pieces, which puts it miles ahead of Argo.

Not only was Joss Whedon’s visionary feat an elaborate amalgamation, bringing together several distinct heroes and narratives, but it came with the added pressure of holding the weight of a franchise, and potentially an entire cinematic genre, on its shoulders. Sure, singular stories from expert auteurs will always have their place come awards season, but there is something to be said about a massive gamble paying off with unimaginable success. Not only was The Avengers a cultural phenomenon and an unmissable theatrical event, but it is also one of the most enjoyable cinematic experiences that millions of people will ever have at the movies.

Iron Man over Frost/Nixon (2008)

Frost/Nixon is basically The Holdovers of 2008 – a good movie, with a decent script, and fine acting. But even moviegoers in 2008 could have predicted that fifteen years later, Frost/Nixon would rarely be talked about, while Iron Man would continue to be a celebrated achievement.

This is actually the last year that the Academy Awards nominated only five films for Best Picture before expanding to varying models of 6-10 nominees. That makes the competition tighter, yet even so, Frost/Nixon was a conforming pick for voters, just because it had reliable material that resonated with historical and political substance. When voters make these choices, they are excluding some truly groundbreaking craftsmanship, like Iron Man, The Dark Knight, or even Wall-E.

Iron Man is supremely dexterous in its multifaceted accomplishments, from its impeccable visual effects that outclasses recent work, to its witty writing. Iron Man launched the incredible foundation of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s trademark comedy, wrapped up in tangible high-stakes threats.

A lot of Iron Man’s success is also owed to the momentous casting of Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark. His relentless humor and charm mark him as one of the best film protagonists of the century. Considering these factors in hindsight, Oscar voters today would likely agree that Iron Man is superior to Frost/Nixon and may even praise Downey Jr.'s Stark more than Frank Langella's Nixon.

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