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Black Panther made more than $1.3 Billion at the box office. It was given a positive review by 97 percent of critics. Many industry insiders have also already cited its success as a potential watershed moment for Hollywood to start approving more diverse movies and giving them substantially higher budgets. By basically any metric you want to look at, the film has to be viewed as a raging success, and yet, with the Oscars on the horizon, Black Panther stars are starting to get questioned about potential nominations, what they would mean and whether the film needs to perform with Academy Awards voters to truly get to the next level of legitimacy.
The movie has done such a great job, broke through so many glass ceilings, and made such an impact culturally and around the world. If the Academy chooses to recognize that project for all of those reasons that's amazing icing on the cake, but I think what the movie has done so far is truly incredible and a win all its own. I felt so accomplished doing this movie, but it's not up to me to validate the film. So the people who make those decisions, that's something they have to think about and figure out on their own.
Very few people go all-in on their own movie's Oscar chances prior to the nominations. It's considered a little taboo to campaign too overtly (although some like Melissa Leo have famously just gone for it), and I suspect many people worry about what might happen if they try too hard and don't get there. But there's something larger in play with Marvel movies too. All the MCU flicks combined have only been nominated for a total of 10 Oscars, 8 of which have come in the 'Visual Effects' category. None of those nominations have resulted in a win. So, I'm sure I would be squeamish too, but Black Panther isn't just a normal Marvel movie.
Even if you strip away all the buzz around it, the visuals, the costumes, the effects and many of the other below the line details of the film are really, really good. Disney is reportedly planning to push the film really hard, even at the expense of Avengers: Infinity War and even in some of the buzzier categories like Best Picture, Best Director and Best Actor. Even the music categories are very much in play.
I have no idea if any of those more talked about categories will pay off, but whether you think the movie was as good as advertised or not, I think most of us would agree the people who worked on creating the spectacle and the wonder behind Wakanda deserve to be recognized.
So, here's to hoping this quote, in retrospect, comes off like a classy underplay from Michael B Jordan rather than fitting uncertainty for yet another unrecognized Marvel movie.