Millions of people went to see Black Panther, as the film became the highest-grossing first-week Marvel movie of all time.
Aside from its popularity, it was also huge for the African-American community, who don’t often get to see positive and strong Black figures in leading roles in Hollywood films. Critically, Black Panther received praise, so it should be a shoe-in for a Oscar nomination for Best Picture, right?
A victory in the category though may be hindered by The Academy, who introduced a new award rewarding a film for its popularity. Many believe that Black Panther fits this bill, but it’d be used to give them a secondary award instead of the coveted Best Picture.
Chadwick Boseman apparently can already sniff the jig from miles (and months) away. He recently sat down with The Hollywood Reporter’s Awards Chatter podcast and was asked about the Oscars. Spoiler alert: he didn’t hold back.
“We don't know what it [the new prize] is, so I don't know whether to be happy about it or not," he said. “What I can say is that there's no campaign [that we are mounting] for popular film; like, if there's a campaign, it's for best picture, and that's all there is to it.
“What we did was very difficult,” he continued. “We created a world, we created a culture ... we had to create a religion, a spirituality, a politics; we had to create an accent; we had to pull from different cultures to create clothing styles and hair styles. It's very much like a period piece. ... So, as far as that's concerned, I dare any movie to try to compare to the [level of] difficulty of this one. And the fact that so many people liked it — if you just say it's [merely] popular, that's elitist.”
In other words: separate ain’t equal. There will surely be a huge uproar if Black Panther isn’t at least nominated. And if it isn’t, the Oscars are going to have T'Challa to deal with.