#OscarsSoWakanda: 4 reasons why ‘Black Panther’ will win Best Picture

In our lifetime a comic book movie is bound to Best Picture at the Oscars. So why not this year? No film influenced the popular zeitgeist more in 2018 than Marvel/Disney’s “Black Panther,” directed by Ryan Coogler and starring Chadwick Boseman as the titular hero. In addition to its record-breaking U.S. box office haul of $700 million, “Black Panther” is also the #1 movie of the year at Rotten Tomatoes and is now on track to dominate the upcoming awards scene. So why are so many pundits underestimating it in their Oscar predictions? Below, see my Top 4 reasons why “Black Panther” will make history at the Oscars by winning — yes, winning — Best Picture.

No frontrunner — Unlike so many recent Oscar derbies, there’s seemingly no Best Picture frontrunner at this early stage. According to our All-Star Users who’ve had the best Oscar predictions over the years, no less than four different films are predicted to win: “A Star Is Born,” “Roma,” “First Man” and “Green Book.” This kind of wide-open field is ripe for an upset, which only helps a mainstream hit like “Black Panther.” Naysayers will argue that “Black Panther’s” February release will hurt its Oscar chances, but “The Silence of the Lambs” opened the same weekend 27 years ago and still won the Big 5: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Actor (Anthony Hopkins) and Best Actress (Jodie Foster).

Below-the-line support — “Black Panther” is in contention for major categories like picture, director and screenplay and acting prizes for Boseman and Michael B. Jordan, but it could also clean up below-the-line. Remember, all 8,000 members of the academy get to vote for the Oscar winners, which is why films with heavy technical support often win Best Picture (think “The Shape of Water” last year or “Birdman” in 2014). “Black Panther” could actually end up being the nominations leader this year thanks to below-the-line races like cinematography, costumes, production design, score, sound and visual effects. And historically, the film with the most noms will go on to win Best Picture.

Best Popular Film backlash — Remember earlier this year when the academy thought it’d be a fun idea to institute a category to honor popular films? During that dark time in our lives, the Oscar blogosphere universally agreed that one film must have been responsible for this decision: “Black Panther.” The thinking was that Oscar voters wouldn’t be able to withstand the potential backlash from the comic book movie being snubbed in Best Picture, so they created a Best Popular Film category as a backup. “Black Panther” fans came out in droves, demanding to know why their film wasn’t good enough for the top category, and soon the popular film idea was scrapped completely. The great news for “Black Panther” is that this whole controversy allowed people to finally see it as a true Oscar contender.

Wakanda Forever! — From black superheroes to kickass females, the cultural importance of “Black Panther” cannot be ignored. And so Oscar voters have a big decision to make this year: honor yet another little-seen art house movie, or crown the biggest, most crowd-pleasing blockbuster of the year? With ace campaign teams from both Disney and Marvel working on “Black Panther,” there’s a good chance #OscarsSoWakanda will soon be trending.

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