Now that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has decided to shelve its newly introduced Oscar for Outstanding Achievement in Popular Film (which some have described as “staggeringly condescending”), Disney has launched its Oscar campaign for Marvel Studios' Black Panther.
So, which categories would the studio like the Academy to consider for Oscar nominations? Well, according to Disney's website, all of them, including Best Director (for Ryan Coogler), Best Actor (for Chadwick Boseman), and Best Picture. No, not “best popular” picture. Best. Picture. No qualifiers. Wakanda forever!
Disney is also pushing the Academy to consider Black Panther for Best Adapted Screenplay, and several performers for Best Supporting Actor and Actress.
This confirms an earlier report that Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige okayed a large awards-season campaign budget for Coogler's film, and follows Boseman’s remarks that “if there's a campaign, it's for Best Picture, and that's all there is to it."
Some have speculated that the "best popular" category was created to honor the massively popular and critically acclaimed blockbuster without actually granting it the award for Best Picture, since the Academy couldn’t possibly grant the Oscar to a — gasp! — superhero film! (Insert all the fainting, monocle-dropping and pearl-clutching here.) But due to the almost immediate backlash against the idea, the Academy recently opted to put the idea on hold. (We’re also guessing that the Academy didn’t consider that giving Black Panther a “separate but equal” Oscar was a horrible, horrible idea.)
Now, the nominations won't be announced Jan. 22, 2019. So, until then, we'll just have to wait and see if the campaign pays off.
The 91st Annual Academy Awards will be held Feb. 24, 2019.