Black Panther is the first Marvel movie with a real shot at a major Oscar nomination. As such, Disney is backing an actual, proper award campaign for the movie and key craftspeople involved, particularly Ruth Carter, the costume designer. I attended an event with Ruth Carter a couple months ago and she was so interesting, and her thought process on putting together costumes for Black Panther was so technical and considered. She’s got good odds of getting a nomination, but the trophy will probably go to The Favourite or Mary Queen of Scots, both of which have gorgeous costumes but they are basically just recreating established historical dress. Ruth Carter cross-pollinated dozens of different tribal references and modes of dress spanning centuries, and the result is incredibly impressive and doesn’t look like anything we’ve seen this year, or in superhero movies. Best Costume Design almost always goes to an historical epic, but it would be nice to see Carter’s work rewarded.
Carter was at another event over the weekend, appearing with Danai Gurira, Lupita Nyong’o, production designer Hannah Beachler, and sound mixer Steve Boeddeker. The event was hosted by Scarlett Johansson, who doesn’t usually do stuff like this for Marvel. She’s a big enough star on her own that she has, in the past, skated around additional press duties like this. After the last couple years she’s had, though, she needs a little bit of a reset and coming over as the team player isn’t the worst position to take. Black Panther doesn’t really need her help, but she could use the image rehabilitation of being seen as a willing voice supporting the most popular movie of the year and its Oscar hopes. That it has nothing to do with her only makes her look more magnanimous. And maybe, as Lainey previously suggested, she actually has to try now, has to do appearances like this to warm up her image some. I don’t think ScarJo suddenly needs to be America’s Sweetheart, but she could certainly afford to look more self-aware and supportive.