By Dave Soto
In a decision that was bound to stir controversy, Black Panther has become the first superhero film to receive an Academy nod for Best Picture. Going against other boundary pushing works such as Roma and BlacKkKlansmen, Black Panther’s nomination brings a few interesting implications for the future of the Academy and for film making in general.
The last billion dollar total grossing film to be nominated for Best Picture was Toy Story 3, which came out almost ten years ago. It’s no secret that the viewership for the Academy Awards has been dwindling throughout the years, with 2018’s ceremony reaching some of its lowest numbers ever. It makes sense that the academy would try to nominate films that appeal to a larger audience.
Not only was Black Panther one of the biggest (if not THE biggest) cinematic events of 2018, it also crafted a gorgeous and unique film viewing experience. The world of Wakanda, with its various sounds and colors, stands as a breathtaking prospect of what superhero movies could be. The mainly black cast is a refreshing departure from most blockbusters and allows for a villain with a topical and morally ambiguous motivation. Michael B. Jordan’s captivating performance as the charismatically militant Erik Killmonger will likely prove to be a career defining moment in the actor’s growing catalogue.
Yes, particularly toward the end, the visual effects falter in fluidity and the film does fall victim to many big budget tropes, but the bitter cries of, “Black Panther is overrated” prove to be more annoying than the praise the film has amassed. Black Panther may not be perfect, but it is fun and simultaneously treads new ground. While it may not end up taking home the big prize, its ambition and cultural impact are rightfully being acknowledged by the Academy.
Cover image credit: Variety