The citizens of Wakanda turned out for the Governor Awards, with Chadwick Boseman, Danai Gurira, Lupita Nyong’o, and Michael B. Jordan on hand. We’ll leave MBJ for Kathleen, because I like my life and don’t want to lose it. As is usual with Wakandans, everyone looks super f-cking hot. (Lupita’s dress reminds me of the pearl gown she wore to the Oscars, I think because of the way it drapes.) The Black Panther crew is already campaigning actively, borderline hard, for the Oscars. I am unbothered. I want Black Panther to be recognized by the Academy because it’s a good movie that also created a cultural moment, it’s one of the only movies EVERYONE saw this year, and you can’t pitch hissy fits about the state of cinema and the importance of the theatrical experience and then ignore a movie that actually gets people to experience the theater. Black Panther is doing everything Hollywood and its student council—read: the Academy—want movies to do, and just because it’s a comic book movie is no reason to come over all snobby.
So what are Black Panther’s Oscars odds? First acknowledging that no one is expecting actual wins, I think they’re pretty good. I won’t say Black Panther is a sure thing for Best Picture, but I think it’s a solid middle-of-the-pack pick. The weighted system of nominating the Academy uses is bonkers, but it means no one has to pick BP first for it to get nominated. It just has to be on enough ballots to pass the curve, and I think enough people will put it SOMEWHERE to count.
And outside of Best Picture, I think Black Panther has a shot at some craft/technical nominations, too. Ruth Carter is another solid middle pick for Best Costume Design, and ditto for Hannah Beachler for Production Design. Best Visual Effects is an easy tip. Getting a little further on the outside, but not totally impossible, is a nod for Rachel Morrison’s cinematography, and going even further out is a nod for Ryan Coogler. Between the two, Morrison definitely has more of a shot, which is counterintuitive because none of it comes together without a director, but whatever. Best Director is REALLY competitive this year. And I wouldn’t count out nominations for sound, especially editing (lots of good sound effects). Black Panther could conceivably rack up five or six nominations.
This doesn’t mean the cast can stop campaigning—they can’t. They need to be out here reminding the Academy of how excited their movie made people. Let the stuffed shirts who give anonymous quotes to trades about how the new membership is degrading the sanctity of the Academy see everyone in the room stampede to meet to T’Challa, and to take pictures with Okoye and Nakia. Let them go through the experience of disappointing their children and grandchildren when they come home with no photos of their own.