‘Wakanda Forever’ could pull off Oscar triple play just like ‘Black Panther’

Ryan Coogler‘s “Black Panther” made history four years ago when it won the first Oscar for a Marvel Cinematic Universe film — in fact, it won three: Best Costume Design, Best Production Design and Best Score. Now, the highly anticipated sequel, “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” has been nominated for five Academy Awards and could very likely win the same number of trophies. Just like last time around, the sequel is the favorite to win Best Costume Design for Ruth E. Carter. Its other potential victories are for a pair of A-list superstars: Angela Bassett in Best Supporting Actress and Rihanna in Best Song. (“Wakanda” is also nominated for Best Makeup & Hairstyling and Best Visual Effects.)

The original blockbuster received a total of seven Oscar nominations including a coveted Best Picture bid, a first (and so far only) such feat for an MCU movie. “Black Panther” won for costumes, production design and score, and lost for picture, song (“All the Stars”), sound mixing and sound editing.

Even though “Wakanda Forever” received less listings at this year’s Academy Awards, it’s still within reach of walking off with three statuettes. Let’s take a closer look at all five of its bids for the 2023 Oscars:

Best Supporting Actress — 16/5 odds to win
Angela Bassett has already claimed the Golden Globe and Critics Choice Award for her role as Queen Ramonda, who keeps charge of Wakanda after the death of her son, King T’Challa. Obviously, the real-life backstory is that Chadwick Boseman died shockingly in between the first and second movies, and so all of the pain and emotion you see on screen on Queen Ramonda’s face was coming from a place of truth. Next up on the awards docket are the SAG Awards and the BAFTAs, followed by the Oscar finishing line. Will she steamroll through the entire awards season? Bassett’s co-nominees are, in odds order, Kerry Condon (“The Banshees of Inisherin”), Jamie Lee Curtis (“Everything Everywhere All at Once”), Stephanie Hsu (“Everything Everywhere All at Once”) and Hong Chau (“The Whale”).

Best Costume Design — 69/20 odds to win
Ruth E. Carter was already a well-known name within the costuming community, but she hit the stratosphere after winning the Academy Award four years ago for the first “Black Panther.” She was previously nominated for designing costumes for “Malcolm X” (1992) and “Amistad” (1997), so “Wakanda Forever” now marks her fourth career notice. Buoyed by her dazzling costumes for T’Challa’s funeral and the underwater citizens of Talokan, Carter enjoys a strong lead in Gold Derby’s odds, ahead of Catherine Martin (“Elvis”), Mary Zophres (“Babylon”), Shirley Kurata (“Everything Everywhere All at Once”) and Jenny Beavan (“Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris”).

Best Song — 4/1 odds to win
“Lift Me Up” is hoping to do what “All the Stars” couldn’t four years ago and win Best Song for a “Black Panther” movie. This time around, the music is by Tems, Rihanna, Coogler and Ludwig Göransson, and the lyrics are by Tems and Coogler. The song is currently the runner-up in Gold Derby’s predictions center, with “Naatu Naatu” from “RRR” (music by M. M. Keeravani, lyrics by Chandrabose) out front after claiming the Golden Globe and Critics Choice Award. The other Oscar contenders are: “Hold My Hand” from “Top Gun: Maverick” (music and lyrics by Lady Gaga and BloodPop), “This Is a Life” from “Everything Everywhere All at Once” (music by Ryan Lott, David Byrne and Mitski, lyrics by Lott and Byrne), and “Applause” from “Tell It Like a Woman” (music and lyrics by Diane Warren).

Best Makeup and Hairstyling — 9/2 odds to win
Camille Friend and Joel Harlow are both first-time Oscar nominees for their intricate work in making everyday actors appear as Marvel superheroes, arch villains, Wakanda residents, underwater beings, etc. They are tied for third place along with Naomi Donne, Mike Marino and Mike Fontaine (“The Batman”) and Heike Merker and Linda Eisenhamerová (“All Quiet on the Western Front”). Leading this race are Adrien Morot, Judy Chin and Anne Marie Bradley (“The Whale”) thanks to making Brendan Fraser transform into a 600-pound man, while second place on our chart goes to Mark Coulier, Jason Baird and Aldo Signoretti (“Elvis”).

Best Visual Effects — 9/2 odds to win
Simply put, this Oscar category seems to be a lock for “Avatar: the Way of Water,” particularly as the well-received film has crossed the $2 billion mark worldwide and the original “Avatar” also won for its visual effects. It’s helped along by the well-known backstory in which filmmaker James Cameron took over a decade to release the sequel. There is essentially a four-way tie for second place in our odds, with the VFX teams for “Top Gun: Maverick” slightly ahead of “All Quiet on the Western Front,” “The Batman” and then “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.”

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