Forget Best Popular Film, Black Panther Is Still Gunning for Best Picture
The Academy announced earlier this month that it will be introducing a new Oscars category—Best Popular Film. They might as well have called it the "Black Panther Consolation Prize," as its invention was a transparent attempt to ensure that the film, easily the most beloved of 2018, doesn't leave the Oscars empty-handed. But despite the creation of this new, practically earmarked category, and the fact that no superhero movie has ever been nominated for the night's biggest award before, Disney and Marvel are keeping their eyes on the prize—Best Picture.
The Los Angeles Times reports that despite the announcement of the new category, the studio behind Black Panther will focus its awards show campaign on Best Picture, thank you very much. Instead of consigning the film to the Academy Awards kids' table, Marvel hired an experienced Oscars strategist and is pouring money into the film's campaign.
The Academy hasn't yet revealed whether or not the best Best Popular Film award will be implemented in time for 2019, and its announcement was greeted with disdain on Twitter. For one, it feels redundant—the 10-film field of Best Picture nominees has plenty of room for popular movies and genre films, with hits like Mad Max: Fury Road, Hidden Figures, and Get Out earning nods in recent years.
Though superhero movies are often snubbed by the Oscars—Marvel's never even scored a win for Best Visual Effects—Black Panther isn't the only superhero film to inspire the Academy to retool the ceremony. The Dark Knight's 2008 Best Picture snub is widely believed to have inspired the Oscars' shift from nominating 5 films for Best Picture to 10, giving a broader array of movies a fighting chance to win the big prize.
This story originally appeared on Esquire.com.
* Minor edits have been made by the Esquiremag.ph editors.