Okoye in Black Panther.

Black Panther Gets The Oscar Push It Deserves

Now let's talk acting awards.
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Forget the Best Popular Film category. Disney is going for the big prize with Black Panther this year.

The Los Angeles Times is reporting that Disney has hired veteran Oscar strategist Cynthia Swartz to help them with a campaign for the film; Marvel studio head Kevin Feige has set aside a significant budget for the campaign.

“I would like to see the hard work and the effort and the vision and the belief of the talented filmmaker Ryan Coogler, who sat across the table from us a few years ago and said, ‘I have been wrestling with questions about my past and my heritage and I think I really want to tell a story within this movie,’ ” Feige said in an interview with the Times. “And that he did it so unbelievably well and with so much impact … seeing that potentially being recognized is what excites me the most.”

With the support from the studio, which also has the titan that is Disney supporting it, Black Panther could easily snare a Best Picture nod. The Oscar consultants interviewed in the Times’s piece all say roughly the same thing: that Black Panther could garner several nominations across the board, not just the Popular Film nod. With that in mind, let’s talk about the awards Black Panther needs to be nominated for, since Disney is giving them the push they deserve.

Best Picture goes without saying, but it would be fantastic to see Ryan Coogler get a Director nod, as well as an Adapted Screenplay nod for Coogler and co-writer Joe Robert Cole. Logan scored an Adapted Screenplay nomination last year, which sets a precedent for well-written comic book films to break into the category. Coogler and Cole’s script is tightly written and powerful, and it would be a shame to not recognize that. Coogler’s direction is also stellar, and the story is deeply personal; to nominate the film and not him wouldn’t necessarily work. Both deserve equal amounts of recognition.

The film should also sweep the technical awards as well. Cinematographer Rachel Morrison deserves a second groundbreaking nod; last year she became the first female cinematographer to ever receive a nomination last year for Mudbound. Similarly, Ruth E. Carter has to win Best Costume Design for the rich costumes she created for the film. Sound mixing and editing, visual effects, set design … Black Panther deserves a massive sweep for creating a world that is so vibrant and real.

However, if I could guarantee two specific nominations for the film that are a little more up in the air? Best Supporting Actor and Best Supporting Actress, for Michael B. Jordan and Danai Gurira. Jordan’s powerful turn as Killmonger makes the whole film work. He has fantastic chemistry with the entire cast, and brings a Shakespearian pathos to the role. Gurira gets the best scene in the movie when she tells her lover that she will kill him without question for Wakanda. The women of Wakanda steal the film, but Gurira’s Okoye is perhaps the biggest standout, and she deserves recognition for her work.

The Oscar race this year could be dominated by genre fare, and it’s exciting to know that Black Panther will be getting the support it deserves from the studio. Hopefully, when the nominations are announced, the film picks up several of the ones listed here, because hands down, it might be the best film released this year.

What do you think, readers? Are there any awards you want to see Black Panther take home next year?

(via The Los Angeles Times; Image: Marvel/Disney)

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Kate Gardner
Kate (they/them) says sorry a lot for someone who is not sorry about the amount of strongly held opinions they have. Raised on a steady diet of The West Wing and classic film, they are now a cosplayer who will fight you over issues of inclusion in media while also writing coffee shop AU fanfic for their favorite rare pairs.