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The Academy Still Has a Grudge Against Superhero Movies

Michael B. Jordan and Chadwick Boseman in 'Black Panther'

While it was exciting to watch Black Panther take home two Academy Awards this weekend, one thing was made clear: It wasn’t going to win Best Picture. Green Book took home that honor, and that fact alone proves that the Academy is not going to take superhero movies seriously. Really? Green Book was better than Black Panther? In what world?

As CBR points out, the 91st Academy Awards just further proved that they’re not ready to embrace the idea that a superhero movie can be the Best Picture, which is a ridiculous notion. They’re the biggest box office hits, they’re loved by millions, but they’re not Best Picture quality? Why? Because they’re not about sad Daniel Day-Lewis struggling to make a dress?

What it comes down to is that the idea of a superhero movie is thrown to the side because they’re seen as “less than” those that the Academy regularly recognizes for arbitrary reasons. I should clarify that I’m the kind of person who doesn’t think that there should have been a popular movie category because the Oscars serve as a showcase for movies that might not otherwise get the attention that they deserve from the general moviegoing audience.

That being said, I also think the best movies of the year should be the ones that we celebrate, and sometimes, this means the best movies aren’t getting the attention they deserve from the Academy. Members of the Academy see a superhero in the lead, and suddenly, that movie isn’t great anymore? It doesn’t make sense.

With the Academy Awards this year, we thought that we had a chance. Black Panther was actually nominated for Best Picture—new territory for a superhero movie—and while yes, the MCU now has two Oscars for this amazing movie, there is absolutely no reason why Green Book deserved the Best Picture win over Black Panther.

Just stop and think about this. Black Panther changed the game. Suddenly, we took notice of the depth these stories were capable of—or, well, those new to the MCU did. For many of us, we’ve watched as the MCU grew and continued to grow these characters we’ve loved for years, but the Academy has dubbed any kind of superhero movie as “less than” all because it’s not “fancy” enough to be awarded an Oscar.

Even when Christopher Nolan tried to make his Batman trilogy more grounded, it took the Academy quite some time to take those movies seriously, and those are barely superhero movies. So, when will the Academy take superhero movies seriously? Hopefully, soon. Black Panther was a step in the right direction, but they gave a terrible movie Best Picture over Ryan Coogler’s masterpiece. So … we clearly have some way to go.

To make this up, can the Academy please give Captain America: The Winter Soldier the screenwriting award it deserves?

(image: Marvel Entertainment)

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Rachel Leishman (She/Her) is an Assistant Editor at the Mary Sue. A writer her whole life but professionally starting back in 2016 who loves all things movies, TV, and classic rock. Resident Spider-Man expert, official Leslie Knope, actually Yelena Belova. Wanda Maximoff has never done anything wrong in her life. Star Wars makes her very happy. New York writer with a passion for all things nerdy. Yes, she has a Pedro Pascal podcast. And also a Harrison Ford one.