Marvel’s “Black Panther” doesn’t open until February 16, but critics are already cheering and our forum posters are already discussing its potential for a Best Picture nomination at the 2019 Oscars. Is it madness to declare the possibility so soon? Perhaps, but the times they are a-changing. Consider that around this time last year we were nearing the release of another unlikely awards contender with glowing reviews and strong cultural resonance: “Get Out,” which opened February 24, 2017.
“Black Panther” is the latest film in Marvel’s ever-growing cinematic universe, and it’s unique in that universe for its focus on black characters under the direction of a black filmmaker (Ryan Coogler). Chadwick Boseman plays the title character, the leader of the fictional African nation of Wakanda, who was first introduced in a 2016 Marvel entry, “Captain America: Civil War.” But after Best Picture snubs for “The Dark Knight” (2008), “Guardians of the Galaxy” (2014), “Logan” (2017), “Wonder Woman” (2017) and more, is the Oscar bias against superheroes still too much to overcome?
Perhaps, but “Black Panther” is helped by its awards-friendly pedigree. Director Coogler earned acclaim for his debut feature film “Fruitvale Station” (2013). He followed that by resurrecting the “Rocky” franchise with “Creed” (2015), which earned Sylvester Stallone an Oscar nom for Best Supporting Actor. In addition to Boseman in the lead role the film also features frequent Coogler collaborator Michael B. Jordan, Oscar winners Lupita Nyong’o and Forest Whitaker, Oscar nominees Daniel Kaluuya and Angela Bassett, and Tony nominee Danai Gurira.
What do you think? Are we jumping the gun, or has the 2019 Oscar race already begun? Read some of our forum posters’ comments below, and join the discussion right here.
Cole Jaeger: “This is the best reviewed Marvel film, it’s got so many diversity points, it’s socially relevant, topical, and it’s going to be a cultural phenomenon like ‘Get Out,’ which proved that the February release date won’t work against the movie as long as people continue to talk about it.”
akim67: “I honestly do think its a possibility. If the ‘Black Panther’ is as good as ‘The Dark Night,’ it has a shot at a Best Picture nomination.”
Kwame: “Let’s just enjoy the movie for what it is. If it gets awards buzz, that would be cool, but I’m more invested in it making a killing at the box office.”
Teridax: “I feel safe in saying that it won’t be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture. No MCU film ever will be, since the film market is so over-saturated with superhero movies none of them will feel extraordinary enough to stand out among the pack.”
Manuel Colon: “I do feel this will be a critics darling at the end of the year. I have not seen it, but just noticing how things are going for this film, it very well can get nominated and win tons of critics awards.”
Be sure to check out how our experts rank Oscar contenders in all 24 categories. Use the drop-down menus at the top of each page to see the other categories. Then take a look at the most up-to-date combined odds before you make your Oscar winner predictions. Don’t be afraid to jump in now since you can keep changing your predictions until just before winners are announced on March 4.