Disney wants some Oscars to brag about, and the Mouse House is pinning their hopes to this year’s superhero epic Eternals. In spite of superhero films not often getting a fair shake with the academy, Disney is launching a campaign with the hope of getting a lot of the film’s cast and crew nominated, and the studio isn’t being shy about aiming high. Many of the nominations they’re pushing for include the annual ceremony’s most coveted awards.
As reported by Comic Book, some of the Awards Disney is gunning for are Best Picture for Eternals and Best Director for Chloé Zhao, whose drama Nomadland won the 2021 Best Picture Oscar. On the acting side of things, Disney is putting up a nice chunk of the cast for nominations. They want Richard Madden for Best Actor as the Superman-esque Ikkaris, and Gemma Chan for Best Actress as Sersi. For Best Supporting Actress they’re pushing Angelina Jolie (Thena), Salma Hayek (Ajak), Lia McHugh (Sprite), and Lauren Ridloff (Makkari). For Best Supporting Actor, they’re putting forth Kit Harrington (Dane Whitman), Kumail Nanjiani (Kingo), Brian Tyree Henry (Phastos), Barry Keoghan (Druig), and Don Lee (Gilgamesh). At the same time, the studio is hoping for a shot at statues for Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Cinematography, Best Production Design, Best Sound, Best Film Editing, Best Costume Design, Best Makeup & Hairstyling, Best Visual Effects, and Best Original Score.
In light of everything, Eternals seems like a longshot for just about any Oscar honors beyond the more technical awards. As Comic Book points out, while in recent years the Academy Awards have been kinder to superhero fare — like Black Panther‘s Best Picture win and Heath Ledger’s posthumous Best Supporting Actor win for The Dark Knight — Eternals still has genre working against it. But even within the genre, the film hasn’t proven to be a favorite. With a 47% critics’ score on Rotten Tomatoes, Eternals is — assuming the RT scores are accurate guides — the single worst reviewed Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) film; scoring even lower than some of the least-loved MCU flicks like Incredible Hulk (67%) and Thor: The Dark World (66%).
It could be Disney is hoping Eternals can lift itself above the reviewers and genre prejudice with its long list of firsts. Lauren Ridloff’s Makkari was the first on-screen deaf superhero, while Brian Tyree Henry’s Phastos was the MCU’s first openly gay superhero, and one in a same-sex marriage who took part in the narrative’s first on-screen LGBTQ kiss. Not to mention that Richard Madden and Gemma Chan brought us the MCU’s first bonafide love scene.
Eternals isn’t the only genre film fighting to get Oscars this year. According to Variety, Sony wants some statues for Spider-Man: No Way Home, while MGM is campaigning for the latest James Bond film, No Time to Die. We should have a better idea of how realistic a shot any of the films have when the nominations are announced on Tuesday, February 8.
In the meantime, if you didn’t get a chance to see Eternals in the theaters but subscribe to Disney+, you’re in luck. The film begins streaming on Disney+ next Wednesday, January 12. If you’ve avoided spoilers this long, just dodge them for a little bit longer.