Disney has high hopes for “Black Panther’s” Oscar chances, and not just in the new (and much-mocked) “Most Popular Film” category.
The L.A. Times reports that, for the first time, Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige has set aside a sizeable awards season budget to promote the film, which is currently the highest-earning film of the year. Disney also hired veteran Oscar strategist Cynthia Swartz to head up the awards campaign.
Feige talked about how he’d like to honor director Ryan Coogler’s “hard work and the effort and the vision and the belief.” He recalls, “[Coogler] sat across the table from us a few years ago and said, ‘I have been wrestling with questions about my past and my heritage and I think I really want to tell a story within this movie.’ And that he did it so unbelievably well and with so much impact … seeing that potentially being recognized is what excites me the most.”
Rachel Morrison and Ryan Coogler (Disney/Marvel)
Disney and Marvel are likely positioning the film for Best Picture, Best Director, and a Best Supporting Actor nod for Michael B. Jordan, as well as costume and production design nominations. And another nod for cinematographer Rachel Morrison, who was the first woman to earn an Oscar nomination in the category for last year’s “Mudbound.”
There’s also Kendrick Lamar and SZA’s closing credits song “All the Stars.” (And hey, having them perform live might goose those all-important ratings, ABC.)
One Oscar analyst tells the Times, “Right now, I think [Academy Chief Executive] Dawn Hudson would crawl in a hole if ‘Black Panther’ gets snubbed for best picture and winds up landing in the popular film category. The funny thing is that Dawn would be way more disappointed than anyone at Marvel.”
Comic-book movies have scored at the Oscars before, most notably Heath Ledger posthumously winning Best Supporting Actor for “The Dark Knight.” But the Academy has yet to nominate an MCU or WBEU film for Best Picture.
And maybe, after all the backlash, the “Most Popular Film” category will quietly be pulled. Several academy members told the Times they “wouldn’t be surprised” if the Academy cancels it completely.
Now if the Academy had created a new Best Stuntwork category as hundreds have suggested, then “Black Panther” (and “Avengers: Infinity War”) would be a shoo-in.
[via L.A. Times]
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