Marvel Studios releases that do well with both audiences and critics are nothing new for the franchise, but it was clear from the first reviews of Black Panther that Ryan Coogler’s work would be dealing with new levels of prestige. Between its cultural significance and its all-round merit as a film, T’Challa’s first standalone release was taken rather seriously in certain circles that usually wouldn’t give superhero movies a second glance. So while MCU entries are often relegated to the technical categories at the Academy Awards, it doesn’t seem too insane to suggest that the Chadwick Boseman-led flick might land itself a nomination in one of the more high-profile categories.
As it stands, the film is being pushed for nods in categories across the board, including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Screenplay, prompting speculation and debate on how good the movie’s chances are in each of these groups. If you ask Michael B Jordan, however, the star would rather stay out of such discussions, explaining to Essence that some Oscar recognition would be but a sweet bonus at the end of an already-triumphant year.
“The movie has done such a great job, broke through so many glass ceilings, and made such an impact culturally and around the world. If the Academy chooses to recognize that project for all of those reasons that’s amazing icing on the cake, but I think what the movie has done so far is truly incredible and a win all its own. I felt so accomplished doing this movie, but it’s not up to me to validate the film. So the people who make those decisions, that’s something they have to think about and figure out on their own.”
As it stands, those nominations are far from in the bag, and given the Academy’s traditionally dismissive view of superhero cinema, the film seems to have history against it. Still, while Coogler’s feature is just one of several entries in the genre that are being pushed for more prestigious categories this year, it’s clear that no other comic book flick stands as good a chance of finding success. Sorry, Deadpool 2.
But as Jordan himself mentioned, after the phenomenal 2018 that Black Panther has already experienced, this movie doesn’t need the Academy’s attention to be regarded as a pretty big deal.