Ever since the MCU blew up back in 2008 and has only gotten bigger and bolder with each passing year, there has been a debate about whether or not Marvel movies are “true cinema.” In recent years, the juggernaut franchise has come under fire by some of Hollywood’s most elite and notorious directors about how the movies and TV shows resemble theme park rides and are meant to be a 2-hour thrill ride instead of art to be appreciated. Fans and admirers of the franchise know that these arguments hold no weight, and luckily so do Hollywood’s elite actors and actresses.
Over the past decade and a half, the MCU has featured dozens of actors and actresses that have taken home the entertainment business’ top prize – an Oscar. Everybody who has ever won the award knows how hard it is to achieve, and yet the MCU has managed to bring out the best of the best in almost every project they make. That being said, there is one franchise in the MCU that seems to attract Oscar winners more than most, and that’s Thor. From Anthony Hopkins playing Odin to Cate Blanchett playing Hela, the God of Thunder has housed some of Hollywood’s greatest of all time – and the upcoming Thor: Love and Thunder is no different.
Christian Bale – Playing Gorr the God Butcher
What more needs to be said? The actor probably best known for his stint as Batman in The Dark Knight trilogy is finally giving superhero movies another go, except this time he’s going to be the villain. Stepping outside his superhero roles, Christian Bale’s resume as an actor is second to none, and the Academy has noticed it. During the 2010s, Bale could not miss as he churned out hit after hit and gave genuinely memorable performances, which amounted to four Oscar nominations.
Bale was nominated for Best Supporting Actor in 2011 and 2016 for the movies The Fighter spirit The Big Shortwhile being nominated for Best Actor in 2014 and 2019 for American Hustle spirit Vice. While being nominated four times, Bale has only taken home the trophy once, thanks to his performance in The Fighter.
Natalie Portman – Playing Jane Foster / Mighty Thor
She’s back – and with a brand-new look! Natalie Portman is no stranger to the Thor franchise since she played Jane Foster in the first film back in 2011 and the sequel in 2013, but she has not been seen in the MCU since (except for a brief clip in Endgamewhich Marvel admitted was unused footage from the prior Thor films). Nevertheless, she needs to be mentioned on this list as she has also taken home the top prize in Hollywood.
Portman was nominated in 2005 for Best Supporting Actress in the film Closer but ultimately lost out on the award. She was again nominated in 2011 and 2016, both times for Best Actress, and she managed to pull off the win in 2011 thanks to her role in Black Swanbut could not duplicate the feat in 2016 despite her memorable performance in Jackie.
Russell Crowe – Playing Zeus
There are few actors or actresses out there that can match Russell Crowe’s resume, so it only makes sense to have one of Hollywood’s heaviest hitters make his MCU appearance as Zeus. Despite the fact that he has not been nominated for an Academy Award in twenty years, there are also few actors and actresses who put together the string of successful performances that he did.
For three straight years from 2000 to 2002, Russell Crowe was nominated for the Best Actor Oscar, thanks to his roles in The Insider, Gladiatorand A Beautiful Mind. Just like the performers listed above, Crowe was only lucky enough to take home the prize once, thanks to his all-time-great role as Maximus in Gladiatorbut being nominated three years in a row is something that only 15 actors and actresses in history have ever done.
Taika Waititi – Playing Korg
While he has not been on the mainstream radar for very long, Taika Waititi has quickly made a name as one of the greatest filmmakers of our generation, and luckily the Academy agrees. Thanks to his film Jojo RabbitWaititi was nominated for Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay in 2020, winning the ladder.
Despite these nominations being his first for a full-length film, Waititi was actually nominated for an Oscar way back in 2005 for his live-action short film Two Cars, One Night. He did not take home the prize, but it’s nice to know that Waititi was getting credit for his work long before entering the MCU.
Honorable Mentions: Matt Damon, Melissa McCarthy, Bradley Cooper
As we said, no franchise attracts talent like Thor. Matt Damon and Melissa McCarthy will not have actual superhero roles in the upcoming film, but fans might remember that Damon portrayed Loki in a theater play in Thor 3, and he’s set to reprise the role with McCarthy set to play the version of Hela. Damon won an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay with Good Will Hunting and has been nominated as an actor thrice and Best Picture once. McCarthy has been nominated twice, in 2012 for Best Supporting Actress and again in 2019 as Best Actress.
Bradley Cooper is reprising his role as the voice of Rocket the Raccoon for the film, and while he has never won an Oscar, he absolutely needs to. Sadly, despite the actor being nominated for nine Oscars throughout his career, he has never taken home the prize. His list includes being nominated for Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor, Best Picture, and Best Adapted Screenplay, all of which have eluded him. Unfortunately, despite never achieving the feat, fans certainly hope that Cooper will hoist the award someday.