Black Panther is the First Superhero Movie Nominated for the Best Picture Oscar

You’ve become part of a bigger universe; you just don’t know it yet. Indeed, Black Panther did what Wonder Woman could not, nor Logan or The Dark Knight before it. It became the first superhero movie nominated for a Best Picture Oscar by the Academy Awards. These are marvelous times, indeed.

Black Panther reaching this zenith—for it is definitely in the “it’s just an honor to be nominated” camp—has been one of the most amusing narratives of awards season. Earlier last year, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences even attempted to create a side category titled “Best Popular Film” strictly to honor movies like Black Panther. Of course we, as well as most people who would ever watch the Oscars, viewed this as patronizing and condescending: the creation of a kids’ table for the stuff deemed unworthy to sit in adult conversation. In essence, it was a category meant to keep movies like Black Panther in Oscar’s spotlight, but not in competition for its biggest prize. The Academy… wisely changed its mind about the “Best Popular Film” category after intense backlash.

So here we are on the morning of the Oscar nominations, and Black Panther took home seven nominations, the third highest for any film this year, including for Best Picture. The Marvel Studios epic also earned nods for Best Production Design, Best Sound Editing, Best Sound Mixing, Best Costume Design, Best Score, and Best Original Song. This is all the more remarkable when some highly respected alternatives were snubbed, including most egregiously Justin Hurwitz’s haunting score for First Man.

Yet the Academy, as a collective voting body, appears almost bullishly determined to be perceived as more accepting of “popular films” this year. In addition to Black Panther taking home a Best Picture nomination, we also saw another box office smash take a much more shocking Best Picture nod with Bohemian Rhapsody. While it always seemed likely Rami Malek would get a deserved nod for channeling Freddie Mercury on screen, it was not until BoRap earned a nomination for Best Picture by the Producers Guild of America that an Oscar Best Picture nomination appeared imminent for the critically panned movie directed by the controversial Bryan Singer. But here we are.

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  • nominated for a Best Picture Oscar by the Academy Awards
  • the creation of a kids’ table for the stuff deemed unworthy
  • Justin Hurwitz’s haunting score for First Man
  • The Dark Knight was snubbed for Best Picture
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