Black Panther is the first superhero movie to earn an Academy Award nomination for Best Picture. The film has also been nominated for six other awards.
The re-introduction to Chadwick Boseman’s T’challa is the first Marvel movie to feature a predominantly black cast; it addresses being black not only in America but in the world at large; it broke box office records in America and internationally.
It wasn’t too long ago that debates sprung up around Hollywood about whether a superhero movie could or should earn a Best Picture nomination when standing alongside more stereotypical dramatic films. We mean films like ‘The Shape of Water’, ‘Moonlight’, and ‘Spotlight’ – the last three Best Picture winners.
In fact, it was exactly 10 years ago that those conversations started, after Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight failed to earn a Best Picture nomination, which many people still regard as one of the biggest Oscar snubs in history.
At the time, Ben Child wrote in The Guardian that “there remains the sneaking suspicion that many voters refrained from nominating The Dark Knight not because they did not believe it to be a great film, but because they did not believe it to be the right sort of great film.”
The outcry that followed The Dark Knight’s snub seemingly forced the academy to change a core facet of its approach in handing out nominations: the number of films within the Best Picture category jumped from five to 10.
Black Panther still has to beat out films like Bohemian Rhapsody, Vice, The Favourite, and Green Book, all of which are seen as potential favourites.
However, the fact that it was nominated at all is a defining moment for both superhero movies and the Oscars: Black Panther is not just a popular movie. It’s a damn good film.