SALT LAKE CITY — It’s “Wakanda forever!” for “Black Panther” as the film claims a coveted Oscar Best Picture nomination, the first ever for the genre.
- The film scored seven nominations in total for the 91st Academy Awards, including Original Score, Original Song (“All the Stars”), Costume Design, Production Design, Sound Editing and Sound Mixing, according to Vox.
Historically, there hasn’t been room in the Oscar Best Picture category for superhero movies.
- In 2008, “The Dark Knight” was notably denied a Best Picture nomination, despite earning eight other nominations.
- According to Polygon, the controversy resulting from the snubbing led to significant changes in the Best Picture category, including upping the playing field from five to 10 nominees in 2009. The Best Picture nomination, however, continued to elude blockbuster superhero films.
In August 2018, the Academy announced the addition of a category for “outstanding achievement in popular film” to make room for blockbuster hits according to The Hollywood Reporter.
- It was anticipated that “Black Panther” would fall into this category after making $1.3 billion worldwide and unseating “Titanic” to become the third highest grossing movie of all time in the U.S behind “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” (2015) and “Avatar” (2009), according to The Hollywood Reporter.
- The Academy ultimately nixed plans for a popular film category in September 2018 following a heated debate about whether its inclusion would diminish the value of the awards.
Despite the odds, “Black Panther” claimed the first Best Picture nomination for a superhero film, signaling that it isn’t only a popular film, but a well-made and meaningful one.
Beyond its massive popularity, the film has had profound cultural significance. According to Forbes, “Black Panther” is the first film from Marvel Studios, as well as the first in the modern Marvel Cinematic Universe and DC Extended Universe, to feature a black lead and a predominantly black cast.4 comments on this story
- “Black Panther” was, furthermore, written and directed by black filmmakers.
- The film’s narrative not only follows the Black Panther character's rise to power, but it discusses what it means to be black in our world.
- Allegra Frank, a black writer for Polygon, said the film “let me see myself as a superhero for the first time” and wrote, “That kind of representation is meaningful. ... People of color are galvanizing around this film, from superhero-loving kids to older fans who’ve waited a long time for a movie like this.”
As the most successful Marvel movie in the studio’s cinematic history, and now with a Best Picture nomination, "Black Panther" could shape the future of superhero films and further push the film industry to greater on-screen representation.