If you didn’t catch it the first time around when watching the movie, Wakandans don’t settle for anything less than the best. This same energy applies to the 2019 Academy Awards.
Earlier this month when it was announced that the Academy would be introducing a new Oscar category for popular film some people got excited, thinking that this would be Black Panther’s chance to nab something big. But many others, like myself, were annoyed at the prospect that arguably one the best films ever made, superhero or otherwise, would be cheated out of a Best Picture nomination. Luckily, the studio behind the blockbuster, which brought in $1.35 billion worldwide, hasn’t changed their campaign plans in the slightest.
According to a Los Angeles Times report, Marvel has hired a veteran Oscars strategist, Cynthia Swartz, to lead Black Panther’s campaign for Best Picture success. If nominated, the film would make history as the first of its kind to be in the running for the award. To further help ensure victory, Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige is giving the film a “significant” awards season budget to spend before the February ceremony.
“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 told the newspaper. “And that he did it so unbelievably well and with so much impact seeing that potentially being recognized is what excites me the most.”
No criteria about the Academy’s new award category have been released, but it seems designed to reward movies like Black Panther and even the summer hit Crazy Rich Asians. Both have raked in tons of money and received high marks from critics and fans alike, but lack the artsy feel of films that typically nab Best Picture (think Moonlight or The Shape of Water).
In my opinion, it would’ve just been easier for the Academy just to expand their scope, rather than to find yet another way to alienate their dwindling viewership by relegating great movies to the side because of some outdated criteria. Best Picture should go to a film that was simply amazing, from the story and cast to the crew and reviews. It means it made people think and feel and laugh and maybe even cry. And hey, if it made tons of money, even better. Sounds like Black Panther would fit that bill, indefinitely.
So, kudos to their team for sticking to their guns and saying it’s Best Picture or bust.