Since the Academy announced their new "Popular Film" category, the decision has received a lot of criticism, with moviegoers wondering how it would affect Black Panther's chance to be nominated for Best Picture. While the criteria of the category has yet to be fully disclosed, the Marvel film was the highest-grossing movie of the year, so it's safe to say it will have a spot in the new category. While Black Panther doesn't fall under the typical Oscar faire, the superhero flick did a lot more than simply make tons of money. The movie stands as unique a cinematic achievement that had great cultural impact on audiences. T'Challa himself, Chadwick Boseman, is the latest actor to weigh in on the topic. And he's confident that Black Panther deserves nothing less than a Best Picture nomination. When speaking about the new category, he said:
We don't know what it is, so I don't know whether to be happy about it or not. What I can say is that there's no campaign [that we are mounting] for popular film; like, if there's a campaign, it's for best picture, and that's all there is to it.
As award season approaches and no one seems to know what to expect from the "Popular Film", Marvel is focusing its significant Oscar campaign budget on nabbing a Best Picture nomination for Black Panther. The campaign will focus on the significance of Black Panther, along with director Ryan Coogler's personal connection to the film's material. Marvel Studios has never thrown in one of their films into the Best Picture race before by investing into it like this, but many would agree that there's never been an MCU film more deserving of an Oscar nod. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Chadwick Boseman also explained why Black Panther is a strong contender:
A good movie is a good movie. And clearly it doesn't matter how much money a movie makes in order for it to be 'a good movie' [in the minds of Academy members] because if [it did], the movies that get nominated and win wouldn't get nominated. And if it doesn't matter, it doesn't matter on both sides. For my money, the only thing that matters is the level of difficulty.
Chadwick Boseman went on to explain just how difficult Black Panther was to make, since it was tasked with creating the culture, religion, politics and accent for the fictional country of Wakanda. He likened Black Panther to a period piece, with all the detail that went into making it-- challenging any other film of 2018 to compare to that level of difficulty.
The Academy has detailed that a film like Black Panther could be nominated for both "Best Picture" and "Popular Film" categories, so the creation of the latter shouldn't deter proper recognition for Black Panther.