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Marvel Oscars

| Wednesday, February 20, 2019

In honor of the 91st-annual Academy Awards, I have decided to use my first column to let my inner superhero nerd run wild. This column will be the award ceremony for the Marvel Cinematic Universe, or MCU — dubbed the Lee Awards in honor of Marvel founder Stan Lee. I am restricting this exclusively to post-2008 Marvel movies because current DC movies are universally inferior, though Christopher Nolan’s “Dark Knight Trilogy” is in a class of its own. Now, the Lees go to:

Best Soundtrack — “Guardians of the Galaxy”

Was there ever any doubt on this one? From the moment Peter Quill/Starlord (Chris Pratt) flips on his Walkman and starts jamming to Redbone’s “Come and Get Your Love,” you knew there was something special about this space odyssey. As good as the sequel’s playlist is, you can’t beat “Hooked on a Feeling” (the Zahm House theme song), “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough, “Escape (The Piña Colada Song)” and Baby Groot dancing to “I Want You Back” (P.S. I’m listening to the playlist while writing this).

Funniest Performance(s) — Paul Rudd, “Ant-Man” and “Ant-Man and the Wasp”

Nothing against Robert Downey Jr. (RDJ) and his witty sarcasm, but Rudd is a bona fide comedic actor. He brings a quality of humor to confusing quantum physics discussions, and an air of sensibility to his paradoxically inept yet somehow capable ex-con friends/coworkers.

Best Actress — Brie Larson, “Captain Marvel”

This one may seem like a psychic prediction, but since her movie will be the first Marvel film featuring a true female lead (it’s about time), and the fact that Larson is an Oscar-winner already, she gets the nod here.

Best Stan Lee Cameo — WWII Vet, “Avengers: Age of Ultron”

We couldn’t go without this award, as Stan Lee was famous for these not-so-surprise appearances. Playing a WWII veteran (which he actually was in real life), and saying his legendary catchphrase, “Excelsior,” was too perfect.  Rest in peace, Stan.

Best Casting — Robert Downey Jr., “Iron Man”

It all started with RDJ, however improbable (fun fact, Downey once got suspended in school for tearing up a classmate’s Iron Man comic). Downey’s take on the character, from smug “genius, playboy, billionaire, philanthropist,” to desperate, PTSD-ridden tinkerer, has set the precedent for Marvel’s near-perfect casting choices, except for…

Worst Casting — Edward Norton, “The Incredible Hulk”

Ugh. It didn’t seem a terrible choice at the time, but Norton just didn’t bring the sympathetic qualities that allow the audience to relate to the character as Mark Ruffalo has.

Best Picture — “Avengers: Infinity War”

“Avengers: Infinity War” is the culmination of a decade-long, genre-redefining narrative that has been weaved by the story-tellers at Marvel Studios. Developing such a popular and persevering epic, culminating to this point with “Infinity War,” is an incredible feat. And who didn’t lose their breath when, spoiler alert, Thor didn’t go for the head, Thanos snapped and Spiderman dusted in Iron Man’s arms?  Now, if that’s everything …

Best Post-Credit Scene — “Ant-Man and the Wasp”

Ah yes, what Marvel may be most famous for: post-credit scenes. Seeing Ant-Man, spoiler alert, trapped in the Quantum Realm as his closest allies, and (seemingly) only means of escape, disintegrated, followed by his panicked and unaware reaction, left me on the edge of my seat dying to see what has been revealed to be “Avengers: Endgame.” I can’t wait.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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