Will the highest grossing film of the year “Black Panther” score a Best Picture nomination? It’s a fair question as no Marvel film has ever even been in the conversation. And the question has produced so much turmoil the academy temporarily thought of adding a Best Popular Film category. We should look towards another popular origin story that was not your typical Oscar fare — 1977’s “Star Wars: IV A New Hope” — as our guide towards “Black Panther’s” potential Oscar nomination haul.
George Lucas’s original “Star Wars” spawned a franchise that includes seven prequels and sequels and two spinoffs to date. Luke Skywalker’s origin story maybe outside the Oscars comfort zone but that didn’t stop the film from picking up 10 nominations including Best Picture; Best Director (Lucas); Best Original Screenplay (Lucas); and Best Supporting Actor (Alec Guinness).
It won six below-the line races: Best Film Editing (Paul Hirsch, Marcia Lucas and Richard Chew); Best Original Score (John Williams) Best Production Design (John Barry, Norman Reynolds, Leslie Dilley and Roger Christian); Best Costume Design (John Mollo); Best Sound (Don MacDougall, Ray West, Bob Minkler and Derek Ball) and Best Visual Effects (John Stears, John Dykstra, Richard Edlund, Grant McCune and Robert Blalack) and won a Special Achievement Award for Sound Effects (Ben Burtt).
How does this help Marvel and “Black Panther?”
Simply put their both origin stories—they’re not sequels. “Black Panther” like “Star Wars” is the first of its franchise. As proven by films like “The Dark Knight” (2008), the academy doesn’t like sequels. But can this diverse cast and crew equal the number of nominations “Star Wars” received?
As of this writing “Black Panther” is expected to also reap 10 Oscar nominations and will overlap “Star Wars” in eight categories.
The film is currently in sixth place according to Gold Derby’s combined odds in the Best Picture race with odds of 19/2.
Both Ryan Coogler and Joe Robert Cole are both expected to receive their first nomination respectively for Best Adapted Screenplay but they sit on the bubble in fifth place with odds of 11/1.
Ruth E. Carter is expected to earn her third nomination and first in 21 years for Best Costume Design as she is securely in second place with odds of 19/5.
Hannah Beachler is expected to be a first-time nominee for creating Wakanda and will compete for Best Production Design and is in second place with odds of 19/5.
Also, expected to receive his first nomination is Ludwig Goransson for Best Original Score he resides in third place with odds of 9/2.
Past nominee Steve Boeddeker and expected first-time nominee Benjamin Burtt are also currently residing in third place for Best Sound Mixing with odds of 5/1.
And Boeddeker, past four-time nominee Peter J. Devlin and another potential first timer Brandon Proctor unlike “Star Wars” will have to compete for Best Sound Editing but they’re in the runner-up spot with odds of 4/1.
Past eight-time nominee Daniel Sudick, past nominee Craig Hammack, along with would be first-time nominees Jesse James Chisholm and Geoffrey Baumann, are expected to pick up the film’s only trophy for Best Visual Effects with odds of 69/20.
“Black Panther” is also expected to pick up two nominations that “Star Wars” did not receive. Past winner Joel Harlow and nominee Ken Diaz occupy the second of three spots for Best Makeup and Hairstyling with odds of 51/20.
And Kendrick Lamar along with Anthony Tiffith, Sounwave, SZA and Al Shux will keep Best Original Song interesting with the tune “All the Stars” as they’re perfectly positioned to upset in second place with odds of 5/1.
But, what about Best Director, Best Supporting Actor, and Best Film Editing where “Star Wars” received nominations?
The film’s cutters Debbie Berman and Michael P. Shwver hope to receive their first nomination and have a good chance of making the Best Film Editing five as they sit on the bubble in a close sixth place with odds of 16/1. However, they have yet to make any organizations list of nominees.
Critic’s Choice nominee Michael B. Jordan could score his first nomination for his work as Killmonger but he’ll need help as he resides in a distant sixth with odds of 25/1. The film’s director Coogler will hope to go along for the ride and he’ll need momentum to be on his side as he is in eighth place with odds of 44/1.
And while “Star Wars” did not score a nomination for its camera work don’t underestimate Rachel Morrison. She made history last year as the first woman to receive a Best Cinematography nomination. So while she may sit in seventh place with odds of 16/1 underestimating her might be unwise.
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.