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Marvel pushing ‘Black Panther’ for Best Picture at Oscars

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Black PantherWalt Disney Studios Motion
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  • Marvel is making a major “best picture” push for the
    first time with “Black Panther.”
  • According to the Los Angeles Times, Disney has hired an
    Oscars strategist with financial backing from Marvel to launch
    a campaign.
  • The Marvel Cinematic Universe has never won an Oscar,
    but “Black Panther” is its best chance so far.
  • The movie was a cultural and box-office sensation, but
    the introduction of a “popular film” category may be the
    biggest thing standing between the movie and a best-picture
    nomination.

 

Awards season is looming, and Marvel Studios and Disney are
eyeing the Oscars.

According to the Los Angeles Times, Marvel is
making a serious “best picture” push, for the first time ever, to
get its highly successful blockbuster “Black Panther” nominated
for the Oscars’ top prize. The Times reported that Disney, which
owns Marvel, has hired a veteran Oscars
strategist, Cynthia Swartz, to lead a best-picture
campaign backed by significant funding from Marvel.

Movies within the Marvel Cinematic Universe have, for the most
part, been absent from the Oscars, despite their consistent
critical and commercial success. If they have managed to be
nominated, it’s been for technical awards, primarily for visual
effects. No MCU movie has ever won an Oscar (even “Suicide
Squad,” part of the rival DC Extended Universe and despised by
critics, won for makeup and hairstyling at the 2017 ceremony).

That means Marvel has a lot of faith in “Black Panther,” and
rightfully so. The movie was not only a box-office juggernaut —
making a rare $700 million domestically and $1.3 billion
worldwide — but lauded by critics, with a 97% Rotten Tomatoes
critic score. The movie was praised for its diverse cast and
African setting that had never been seen in a superhero movie,
and the performance of Michael B. Jordan as the villain
Killmonger.

The Oscars, after being panned for its lack of diversity,
has shown some progress the last two years in that regard:
“Moonlight,” about a black, gay man struggling with his identity,
won best picture in 2017, and “Get Out” won best original
screenplay at this year’s Oscars. It was also nominated for best
picture, best director, and best actor. 

But the Oscars have also historically ignored superhero
movies outside of technical categories, save for “The Dark
Knight,” in which Heath Ledger won posthumously for his
performance as the Joker, and “Logan,” which was nominated for
best adapted screenplay. 

The biggest thing standing between “Black Panther” and a
best-picture nomination, though, may be the introduction of a
new, controversial “achievement in popular film” category, which
has been mocked by critics and celebrities alike. Details are
scarce about the category right now, but we know that movies can
compete in both categories. The fear, though, is that “Black
Panther’s” inclusion in the popular film category could ruin its
chances of a best-picture nomination.

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