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So what, if MCU secures an Oscar?

A screenshot from Deadpool

A screenshot from Deadpool

The MCU has a significant Oscar nomination and if all goes according to plan, Angela Bassett may secure Marvel‘s first Oscar. Naturally, the geek/nerd sphere is excited.

The Oscars have a reputation for excluding Hollywood blockbusters to favour dramas from pretentious directors and screenwriters that spend every waking hour looking for new ways to tell the same boring stories.

These individuals don’t see the value in fantasy, horror, action, and every other genre that dares to gaze beyond the ordinary. Why obsess over silly fairy tales set in imaginary worlds when they have nothing significant to say about real life?

The pushback to such arguments is usually swift and passionate. Those who celebrate the fantastical are quick to assert that a film’s genre has nothing to do with its quality. Movies exist to tell compelling stories.

And compelling stories are not the strict purview of the drama category. Is horror any less deserving of recognition, if it can move you just as powerfully as the numerous dramas The Academy has awarded?

One could argue that comedy is far more challenging to execute. But we all respond to human strife and suffering. Schindler’s List continues to astound new audiences in the 21st Century, because fans can sympathize with crying children in war-torn streets. Comedy is a different beast, because we don’t laugh at the same things.

Humour is ridiculously subjective, but that means Deadpool is nothing short of a miracle; Ryan Reynolds killed millions of people worldwide with laughter in 2016. In fact, some critics of major film awards don’t understand how Deadpool is not worthy of an Oscar.

If you compare the challenges they had to overcome, Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick (Deadpool writers) had a far more complex undertaking. Steven Zaillian (Schindler’s List) was tasked with writing a story about the Holocaust, one of the most tragic atrocities in recent history.

Reese and Wernick had to sell Deadpool’s naughty humour to people like me that generally avoid crass jokes. And they succeeded. And yet, some entertainment pundits in Hollywood use terms such as ‘juvenile’ to dismiss these popular movies.

They will argue that Banshees of Ineshirin, which I liked, is somehow superior to the likes of Smile, because the story is grounded in realism.

Oscars defenders disagree with most of these criticisms, especially the charge that the award discriminates against certain genres. They expect the Oscars to reward the best films of each year, regardless of the genre, and it is not The Academy’s fault that crowd favourites such as John Wick have failed to compete with the masterful film-making you see in Oscar darlings including La La Land.

Some Oscar voters believe that you need to ground a movie in reality to tell stories that explore the human condition. I have never encountered a more asinine attitude. Do you know what happened when Avengers: Endgame came out?

People cried in the cinema. We are talking about a movie some film critics have described as ‘Messy CGI Nonsense.’ And yet, amid all the explosions, Avengers: Endgame did such a fantastic job of analyzing love, loss, and sacrifice.

So, this idea that only realistic dramas can tell profound stories should die. That said, I don’t understand why people want comic book films to win awards. Consider this. Many of you ignore the Oscars because you have never heard of the movies The Academy nominates.

This is part of the reason why the Oscars matter. They highlight films that would otherwise go unnoticed. Comic book movies don’t need that attention. Besides, they always dominate the box office.

Avatar: The Way of Water has made more money in two months than all the 2021 Oscar-winning films combined. So, why do we want validation from the Oscars? Surely, it is enough for us to enjoy the movies we love, regardless what anyone else thinks.


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