Although Best Picture was always on the table for Black Panther, Disney is taking a stand and pushing for an Oscar sweep.
There’s been a lot of Oscar talk surrounding Black Panther recently. From controversy over the now-defunct “Popular Film” category, to Chadwick Boseman’s recent affirmation that the film is aiming for the coveted “Best Picture” prize, speculation has abounded on the film’s Academy future. But now, Disney Studios has finally revealed its “For Your Consideration List” for the film, and it’s a long one.
From the biggest categories, “Best Picture,” “Best Director,” (Ryan Coogler), and “Best Actor” (Chadwick Boseman), to the decidedly well-earned, “Set Decorator” (Jay Hart) and “Best Original Song” (“All the Stars”), to almost all possibilities in between, such as “Best Supporting Actress” (Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, Letitia Wright, and Angela Bassett), Disney is leaving no stone unturned in its first major Oscar push for Marvel.
In total, the studio lists 18 categories for voters to consider, and many more specific nominations for each, taking clear aim at almost every major aspect of the awards.
Overall, the message behind these nominations is best put in the words of Chadwick Boseman:
What we did was very difficult. We created a world, we created a culture … we had to create a religion, a spirituality, a politics; we had to create an accent; we had to pull from different cultures to create clothing styles and hair styles. It’s very much like a period piece. … So, as far as that’s concerned, I dare any movie to try to compare to the [level of] difficulty of this one.
Especially in light of the short-lived attempt at a “most popular” category, this laundry list of nominations is compelling. Black Panther, Disney seems to say, isn’t only worth of the top prize, but of every prize. Superhero movie or not, comic book movie or not, blockbuster movie or not, the film should be recognized for its merits, just as every other film is. In short, the studio wants voters to know, Black Panther deserves the most prestigious of prizes on the grandest of stages.
A victory for Black Panther in any, or all, of these categories, would be a game-changing moment for comic book films, and would open the door for a greater level of respect and admiration for the genre. Though it is too soon to tell how the chips will fall, the nominations at least make it clear, Black Panther won’t be counted out or marked down without a fight.