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Disney Campaigns ScarletJo For Best Actress Despite Black Widow Lawsuit

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Former Marvel star Scarlett Johansson is being pushed by Disney for Best Actress award nominations for Black Widow, despite her lawsuit against the company in 2021. Johansson had been part of the MCU as the former Soviet assassin since 2010’s Iron Man 2, with her character sacrificing herself in Avengers Endgame. 2021’s Black Widow served as the swansong for Johansson’s time in the MCU.

After many delays due to closures and lockdowns enacted to curb the spread of cases during the COVID-19 pandemic, Black Widow finally saw its release on July 9, 2021, simultaneously in theatres and on Disney+ via Premier Access. However, Johansson soon filed a lawsuit with Marvel Studios’ parent company, The Walt Disney Corporation, due to the star accusing the company of denying her box-office bonuses that she would have been entitled to. After the star received much support, the two parties settled things through a large payout, with Johansson still open to collaborating with Disney. As well as the two parties working together once more, Disney has opted to support Johansson during awards season.

On Disney’s “For Your Consideration” webpageBlack Widow has been listed alongside other Marvel Studios 2021 releases, such as Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings and Eternals. Alongside awards for categories that the studio has previously been nominated for, such as “Best Visual Effects,” the page lists Johansson for consideration for “Best Actress” nominations. Johannson’s co-stars Florence Pugh, Olga Kurylenko, Rachel Weisz, David Harbour, O-T Fagbenle, William Hurt, and Ray Winstone have also been considered. For “Best Supporting Actor” and “Best Supporting Actress.” In contrast, director Cate Shorthand has been listed as “Best Director.” Disney is also pushing the film itself to be nominated for “Best Picture potentially.

Despite making up 30% of total US Box Office takings during difficult times for theatres in 2021, the subject of Marvel films receiving recognition for awards such as the Academy Awards has often been contentious online. 

Creatives within the industry have usually found themselves drawn into discussions on how Marvel and the current trend of superhero films have affected the industry, with voices such as Martin Scorsese and Ridley Scott facing backlash for having opposing views. 

In contrast, others, like Paul Thomas Anderson and James Gunn, have defended the pictures. This hasn’t stopped studios such as Disney from pursuing awards, though, with recent advertisements for Spider-Man: No Way Home pushing the film for Academy consideration being uncovered in recent days. And it’s not uncommon for studios to do award goes for their blockbuster movies.

Though it is unlikely Johansson or Black Widow may receive any nominations, it is interesting to see the studio push for her success. This could be a case of the studio throwing its hat into the ring in a year with less competition, especially with No Way Home receiving public support from fans for a Best Picture push. But at the very least, it’s an indicator that both parties are on favorable terms again.

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