First we’d like to welcome you to Oscar Scuttlebutt, ScreenCrave’s official weekly column for everything pertaining to the Academy Awards. Each week we’ll be talking about a different movie or two and how it might fit into the race.

People always claim that the Oscars are unpredictable, but in recent years, the front runners have been winning, and they’ve been boring. You know, Oscar bait, movies like The Artist. But every once in awhile they’ll throw a curve ball at us, add in a candidate that we only dreamt of making it into the nominations list, but sometimes they do that due to declining broadcast ratings. Which movies are we referring to? Mainstream flicks of course.

A couple of years ago there were plenty of fanboys and fangirls who were up in arms over the lack of a Best Picture nomination for The Dark Knight. Out of all of the summer movies to be released this year, there actually are a couple that should be considered for nomination, and one of those may surprise you.

Let’s get through the most obvious choices, the first of them being Wes Anderson‘s Moonrise Kingdom. This sucker got a ridiculous amount of attention when it slipped into limited theaters back in May. Man, it feels like a long time ago, doesn’t it? Audiences were blown away by the story, actors, everything. It’s been hailed as one of his best films since The Royal Tenenbaums, and that’s saying something. Along with that there’s Beasts of the Southern Wild, a movie that’s been receiving critical praise worldwide ever since it first debuted at this years’ Sundance Film Festival. While it was in limited release many cinephiles flocked to enough theaters to keep the movie running throughout the entire summer, and it came out in June. Plus that and there’s been tons of rumors running rampant that young star Quvenzhané Wallis could be getting a Best Actress nomination from her performance. To see a young actress get an Academy nomination would be quite refreshing. The last time that happened in the Best Actress category was with Keisha Castle-Hughes for her role in Whale Rider back in 2004. Don’t count these films out.

Now that we have those more-than-likely Oscar nominated movies out of the way, let’s get into the nitty gritty of the summer season. Which of these mainstream movies will be worthy enough to get the Academy’s attention? At the beginning of the summer so many people were fumbling over themselves over the prospect of Christopher Nolan‘s The Dark Knight Rises being a possible Oscar-worthy masterpiece that it got annoying, but now that the movie’s out, those masterpiece praises are few and far between. Sure, it’ll get nominated for a couple of technical awards but that’ll be it. The Dark Knight Rises didn’t make a monstrous impression like The Dark Knight, it didn’t tap into the cultural zeitgeist. Fans just didn’t latch onto it as much as they hoped. Well, it’s not the first time that fanboys and fangirls were slightly disappointed by the end product.

Was there anything else within the summer season that may be worthy enough for a Best Picture nomination? We’re going to say that Joss Whedon‘s The Avengers has a chance of getting nominated.This movie had the biggest box office opening of the year, even toppling records previously set by other Marvel films like Iron Man 2. We know there’s a high probability that it’ll get nominated for Best Special Effects, as most mainstream summer blockbusters tend to get, but it does have a good shot of getting a Best Picture nod. When it comes to monstrous box office movies like The Avengers, the Academy can’t turn their head and ignore them. Clearly there’s something particular about films like this that attracted audiences across the nation and the globe to catapult it into making a ridiculous amount of money. They have to give the movie it’s time to shine in their nominations list. That and they’ve done this before with other previous nominees who shared similar box office glory like Avatar, Titanic, The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King, Raiders of the Lost Ark and many more. So there’s definitely a chance that we’ll see The Avengers make it into the fold, especially given the fact that they can add up to ten nominees for the Best Picture race. Part of this will be determined by if the academy sees it as a great movie that made a lot of money, and part of it will be determined by whether or not Marvel decides to push the film for major contention. The problem they’re going to run into is that with an ensemble, they’ve got a lot of great male actors and no one who they’d want to single out over the other. If it does get a nomination, that’s the prize.

Would it be totally amazing to see Joss Whedon walk away on Oscar night with a golden boy in his hands? Of course. Do we secretly hope that if he does win the Oscar that maybe we’ll see him do bigger and better work, like say get a ridiculous amount of financial backing so he can make Serenity 2? Yes, yes and yes. But that’s neither here nor there. At the same time think about it. Within the past few years Marvel Studios has turned into a force to be reckoned with. If they suddenly were awarded with a Best Picture nomination, or win, would just further prove how unstoppable not only they are but the comic book movies genre is.

Do you think The Avengers could get nominated for Best Picture? Why or why not?