Marvel’s Black Panther is now the first superhero movie ever to be nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards. Does it have a real chance to win ⁠— and if it does, should it? If the Oscars are about celebrating not what Academy voters’ liked but what truly brings audiences together (and truly represents what the Hollywood film industry is best a producing), why should the Academy ignore the most popular genres and the biggest, most diverse audiences?

Bob Chipman
Bob Chipman is a critic and author.

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    31 Comments

    1. I’m rooting for BlacKkKlansman, Black Panther, and The Favourite. It is unique like you said that no one is a real front runner for Best Picture, and most of the films in the running have major pushback.

    2. Are they still going through with that “separate-but-equal” Best genre-film category?

    3. Best Picture is a meangingless category, The Favourite is the best film nominated for it and will probably win the award, but these two facts aren’t really connected, it’s more because The Favourite is the one which is transgressive enough in the way which the Academy will identify with most.

    4. I just watched it again this weekend with my parents(who had not seen it yet). It’s a great movie but I am not sure it has a chance to win best picture. I do think Jordan got snubbed on a best supporting actor nomination because his performance is really what elevates the movie a lot.

    5. I think realistically, they’re more likely going to give it to BlackKlansman over Black Panther. As you said, it’s Spike Lee’s best shot. He’s also nominated for Best Director. They get to put a movie about race at the forefront without the old fogeys at the Academy having to touch a superhero movie. I want it to be Black Panther, but it’s more realistically going to Spike Lee.

    6. “less then perfect CGI”? Lol, it looked like really shitty PS2.

      But I do agree with Bob here, Black Panther winning would just mean a sub par movie won best picture while much better movies don’t even get nominated, ya know, like every year.

    7. It’d be nice if it wins, but I’m betting either BlackKlansmen or The Favorite gets it.

      1. The Favourite and BlacKkKlansman are, as far as I’m concerned, the best movies of the nominees, so I’d be happy to see either win. Black Panther, however, would be good to see win as a sign of the Academy being more open to populist genre movies getting the big awards. All three, to be honest, are the only three of the nominees I’ve seen to be properly great movies of their type (I’ve not yet watched Roma), even if they then present the difficulty of it being impossible not comparing like for like to determine an overall “best movie of 2018”

    8. Wait. Back up. Green Book got nominated? Are you serious?
      You guys… my nose… there’s something on it.

    9. As far as Spike Lee liking Black Panther is concerned…………..Didn’t he also like Red Tails?

      There is a whole discussion here about how a cold glass of piss while dying of thirst in the desert tastes like champagne, but then you notice an ice bucket with real champagne 3 feet further in that sand dune and you happily throw out the piss before you take a sip.

      Yeah, there are a ton of “innovative” films from the last 20 years that were a “glass of piss” scenario, and at least for African Americans, Black Panther is the champagne scenario (and they don’t know that they are drinking cheap champagne and the best is yet to come).

      Same thing will happen 10 years from now when we are looking back on Wonder Woman as “Wow, that was a mess, but we needed it to get this Legend of Korra vs Furiosa movie”.

    10. I do think there is a bias against genre films. No matter how good a genre film is, any excuse to bump it off the Best Picture/Director/Actor/Actress was an acceptable excuse for decades. Best Visual Effects has always been the bone thrown to genre fans as if to say, “You’re not good enough for a REAL award, but here’s something for looking pretty.” Maybe that’s changing. Maybe Black Panther was only nominated so the Oscar people can say, “Look, we nominated one of your silly comic book movies and it has a mostly non-white cast as well. So start showing us some respect now and maybe, long after I’m safely in my grave, you may be good enough to win.”

    11. If anyone is going to MAKE the Academy give the Best Picture Oscar to Black Panther, it’s Disney. They own Marvel and ABC, the network that shows the Oscars.
      Besides, I live near Oakland, CA, the home of the movie’s director, Ryan Coogler, and it’s where the movie’s story started and ended. It was a pretty big deal around here when it was in theaters, and there could be riots if Black Panther loses. I’m actually surprised there wasn’t much of a reaction to Coogler not being nominated for Best Director, which I agree with Bob is bullshit.

    12. Black Panther was really good but I never thought it was especially better than most Marvel movies.

      Infinity War was easily the best superhero movie last year and just a monumental achievement in terms of taking all those moving pieces and actually making them click. If anything in the superhero genre deserves best picture, it’s that.

    13. honestly I think its going to be “green book”, not because I think its good mostly cause as you said “its the most conventional Oscar bait movie” and “this is the same academy that gave an award to driving miss daisy” I also feel like its a movie they can say “hey look we’re progressive we picked the movie with the black guy in it” and it checks a lot of the same boxes that got the kings speech the best picture award it also doesn’t really have that much baggage compared to all the other ones.

    14. I’m rooting for either Black Panther or Black Klansman, but I don’t hold out hope that A Star Is Born won’t be the actual winner.

    15. I would love to see Black Panther, I remember how pleased and excited I was. I really wanted to see it again. It has the side benefit it would make Conservative dirtbags heads explode (we see you Ben Shapiro) Wakanda Forever

    16. I didn’t know about the other nominated movies. Spike Lee’s strikes me as having the best shot from Bob’s rundown.

      That said I was struck by the T’Challa’s arc of growth: He visits the Ancestral Plane a second time where he reads his predecessors the riot act by saying “You were wrong! ALL OF YOU WERE WRONG!!!” Serious growth with serious repercussions. That’s not something you see in most super hero movies.

      So, now, yes, I can see Black Panther possibly winning. Don’t expect it to, but I can see it winning and I certainly wouldn’t be put out if it did.

    17. I totally get the cultural impact of Black Panther on modern America, but as a non American, I fail to see much more than that. Don’t get me wrong, i really like the movie, but i really don’t see it as the best movie of the year, not even the best superhero movie of the year. For me Roma should get the oscar.

    18. I’m seeing two black lead BP winners in the last 10 years … if Black Panther wins that’s 3 … what’s the problem? It isn’t an even 50-50 split?

    19. Also with Black Panther you have the whole “Shame about the film critic who was relentlessly harassed and faced multiple calls for him to be fired because he “ruined” the 100% fresh rating”

    20. That Eyes Wide Shut cutaway was hilarious.

    21. It will be a black day if Black Panther won. Culture events are the stuff of honorable mention. The category is “best picture” is it not? (“The Favourite” looks like the obvious pick… everyone’s said it’s good; I’ve not seen anyone endorse BP as a masterclass in film making. I hope no one wants to win an award that no one believes they really earned or deserved.)

    22. 4:24

      A Star is Born didn’t get “mixed reviews”, it got critical acclaim.

    23. The argument that Hollywood Golden Age Best Picture winners showcased the very best of enduring popular classics like Gone With the Wind or Casablanca does kind of involve cherry picking the years that suit that argument and ignoring that even back in the Hollywood Golden Age there was a tendency to go for the conservative option of an efficient middle brow period drama. Like how in between those wins for Gone With the Wind and Casablanca, the stolidly earnest How Green Was My Valley comfortably defeated the likes of The Maltese Falcon and Citizen Kane.

    24. I’ve never really had an issue with the Oscars in general snubbing genre films. I get that occasionally the biggest earners of the year do get nominated and sometimes win (LOTR3 and Titantic to name a few)….but despite it possibly deserving it, Black Panther doesn’t need to win.

      It’s made a lot of money, it’s made stars out of a large cast of an often underutilised race, it is loved the world over and made a huge cultural impart…what does winning an Oscar really accomplish?

      To me The Oscars don’t need to cast a light on success stories. I like it best when it brings little known films (or great films that bombed) to my attention that I can catch up on throughout the year.

    25. Well, i was on the side of: “Black Panther was important and good, but i didn’t like it that much, is not in my top 5 of MCU movies, and i don’t care that much about the MCU either”. I thought that middle through the movie they were still building the plot we already knew it was going to unfold, so it got slow while i waited to the moment that Black Panther looses the fight and comes back with a better understanding of Killmonger’s actions, i also didn’t like the fighting scenes (except the one inside the building, that was neat).
      but its a good movie, and it was hard and sensible enough of a subject that maybe “good” is an amazing achievement per se. The movie is not about a superhero is about a super country!
      And considering the alternative nominees (that i already watched), i’d be super glad if Black Panther wins. Though i’d prefer Blackkklansman. That movie is one that i am gonna be watching many times.
      I hope Spike Lee get the oscar, i’ve been marathoning through most of his movies. He has a unique energy. If he doesn’t get the Oscar, well Oscars are Bullshit anyways.

    26. Yeah. Sorry I do not think this film should win. But it’s sweet that it was nominated and lets face it. It kinda was overrated. I saw it, IU enjoyed it. I came out of it, and I’d forgotten most of what I’d seen by the next morning.

      It was a high budget popcorn flick which is not a bad thing but i’d expect a best picture to be a film that actually leaves you with a deeper message.

    27. Comic Book movies are not really Oscar worthy material, regardless of how amazing some claim them to be. At the end of the day they are just hyperactive CG fests that people from Bobs generation, who grew up with the source material, consider fine art.

      1. Yes, classic Hollywood spectacle movies, in other words.

    28. I will be amazed and incredibly happy if Black Panther wins, but I’m really rooting for BlacKkKlansman because I think it’s a more important movie and Spike Lee definitely deserves an Oscar

    29. If I actually thought the Academy and the Oscars actually meant anything I’d probably root for Black Panther.

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