The Brits had a bone to pick with “Black Panther” on Wednesday morning. That an American superhero movie wasn’t nominated for Best Picture at the BAFTA Awards wasn’t necessarily a surprise, but the British academy didn’t nominate it anywhere except Best Visual Effects. In a way, I think that’s actually more encouraging for the film’s Oscar chances than if it had just slightly underperformed because we already know the American film industry likes it a lot better than that.
To snub the film in fields like costumes, makeup/hair, production design and sound feels like the BAFTAs going out of their way to shun the Marvel blockbuster. But this week we’ve also heard from numerous industry groups on this side of the Atlantic, and they’ve been much more enthusiastic. “Black Panther” was nominated for Best Picture by the Producers Guild of America (which nominated 10 films as opposed to 5 films at the BAFTAs). It was also nominated by the Screen Actors Guild Awards for its ensemble acting, the Writers Guild of America for its screenplay, the Art Directors Guild for its fantasy production design and the Cinema Audio Society for its sound mixing.
So the chances are almost nill that the Oscars will snub “Black Panther” to the extent that the BAFTAs did. But that doesn’t mean the BAFTA snubs aren’t cause for concern. Despite its strong showings at some US guilds, the film has also been left out by a few other significant industry groups: it was overlooked by the American Cinema Editors, the American Society of Cinematographers, the Casting Society of America and most crucially the Directors Guild of America. Those are awards where an acclaimed, action-packed film with a large ensemble cast should have been considered if the industry at large really were over the moon for it.
A case could be made that the glass is half full or half empty with this week’s “Black Panther” results on the awards circuit, but it could fill up some more this weekend at the Critics’ Choice Awards. They don’t have voting members in common with the Oscars, but last year they anticipated the Oscar victory for “The Shape of Water” and this year nominated “Black Panther” for 12 awards including Best Picture. So do you think the BAFTAs spell trouble for the film, or will it still be “Wakanda forever!” at the Oscars?
Be sure to check out how our experts rank this year’s Oscar contenders. Then take a look at the most up-to-date combined odds before you make your own Oscar predictions. Don’t be afraid to jump in now since you can keep changing your predictions until just before nominations are announced on January 22.