Black Panther has made a huge impact and is certainly good enough to be nominated for Oscars in certain categories. The best thing about this movie is that it sparked heated discussions about feminism, race, cultural identity, slavery, and neoliberalism in the real world. The cast also deserves Oscar praise. As Justice Namaste points out in a discussion on Wired, “the strongest part of the film was undoubtedly all of the women characters.” There were many strong female characters in the film. The warrior Okoye (Danai Gurira) is Wakanda’s most dangerous warrior-tactician and leader of the Dora Milaje. There’s also the mind behind every single one of T’Challa’s clever weapons, his sister Shuri (Letitia Wright), who has sparked speculation of a genius-off with fellow elite technologist Tony Stark in the upcoming Marvel movies.
Apart from Best Actress in a Supporting Role, let’s not forget about Best Costume Design, Best Makeup and Hairstyling, Best Visual Effects, and of course Best Original Score. The use of African cultural heritage in every visible aspect of Wakandan life and culture was perfect in creating an afro-futuristic city-state. Apart from its stellar cast and compelling storyline, what made Black Panther completely immersive was its visual style as well as its scoring. This movie stirred up plenty of debates, but none of them questioned the undeniably great music and visuals that gave life to its story.
The awards for Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Picture are unlikely, but not impossible. The movie is a cultural milestone for women, racial issues, and equal representable in the superhero genre, which is just what the Academy looks for in selecting these nominations. The film also raises some challenging questions about racial politics. Afropunk’s Erin White explains it was the movie’s antagonist Killmonger who raised issues about how Wakanda’s isolationism ignored slavery across the globe, despite having the means and resources to end the suffering of black people. These are the questions that set it apart from other superhero films and make it a contender for the Oscars.
Whether or not you agree with these critics, there’s no question that Black Panther has already staked a big claim in mainstream culture and media. Here on AwardsWatch we have previously reported that the movie has already garnered 14 Saturn Award nominations – perhaps an indication of bigger awards to come.
The film has generated a lot of interest as the first mainstream superhero to feature a black lead, along with a majority black cast. Despite the diversity of the cast being celebrated across the entertainment industry, some fans have reportedly not been happy with the focus on race. GMA host T.J. Holmes was criticised for his movie review that called the film “not just another superhero movie”. He was referring to how the film broke the stereotypical portrayal of comic-book heroes. However, with the setting of the film being in a fictional African country, race and African cultures are a big part of the film’s plot and its box office success.
Earlier this week, Forbes reported that at $665M, Black Panther had passed Titanic to become the 3rd highest domestic grossing film of all time (unadjusted) and has earned $1.3B worldwide. The film is a cultural milestone with plenty of well-developed characters, a story that sparked political conversation in the real world, a dedicated cast of actors, and an elite production crew. If that doesn’t deserve at least a couple of Oscar wins in the near future, we don’t know what does.