The 2018 Academy Awards are tomorrow night and while there are plenty of movies to get excited about in contention for various awards, some people are already looking forward to next year's awards season. With Black Panther not just breaking box office records but garnering high critical praise as well, there are already those wondering if Black Panther might be nominated for the 2019 awards.
It's not unheard of for superhero movies to be nominated for Oscars. The technical categories are often solid categories for popular, crowd-pleasing blockbuster action films and superhero films have won before. In 2016, Suicide Squad won the award for best makeup and hairstyling while 2008's The Dark Knight won for sound editing. However, the major categories have been more elusive when it comes to superhero films. Heath Ledger was posthumously nominated for and won Best Actor for his role as the Joker in The Dark Knight, but that was a lone outlier until Logan was nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay this year. That groundbreaking nomination might just open the door for Black Panther to walk right in and claim a lot of major categories awards.
But if Black Panther does get nominated in next year's Academy Awards, what categories could we expect to see the Marvel Cinematic Universe get nods in? We've got a few ideas.
While the creation of Wakanda, the fictional African nation that developed into a technologically advanced society away from the influence of the Western world, gets a lot of attention one of the best details in Black Panther are the costumes. From T'Challa's (Chadwick Boseman) incredible Black Panther suits to the armor of the Dora Milaje to even Shuri's (Letitia Wright) fashion-forward style, not only drive home the uniqueness of Wakanda but the individuality of the characters as well. Costume designer Ruth E. Carter has already earned two previously nominations in the category for her work on Malcolm X and Amistad and her work on Black Panther is every bit as incredible as her work on those films. Carter not getting nominated for her work on Black Panther is almost unthinkable, making this a solid category for Black Panther to both be nominated for and take home a trophy in.prevnext
Makeup and Hairstyling
Going along with the unique, Afrofuturistic fashion and costumes of Black Panther, the hair and makeup in the film also tells a story, one that is unlike anything we've seen before in a blockbuster. With the hair and makeup being as much a part of the story as anything else in Black Panther, the film could very easily get an Oscar nod. It would be a triumph for the film as well as for the film's hairstylist Camille Friend who told Huffington Post that a lot of research went into creating the hairstyles for Black Panther -- it goes so much further than just doing hair.
"I used a lot of reference books, especially books about Africa," Friend said. "Basically, I started with resource books, looking at African books and just looking at different tribes and looking at the hair textures, looking at the clothes, looking at the textiles, even looking at the terrain of the country and the color of the earth. All of those things, really, are interesting to me, and even looking at different Eskimos and different Indian cultures -- just looking globally at different tribal looks. That's what I started with."prevnext
Another technical category Black Panther could be expected to be nominated in is production design. Designer Hannah Beachler had the huge task of building a completely unique world that, despite being fictional, had to look and feel real not only to help audiences have a sense of place but also to ground the otherwise fantastical story of a superhero movie. Vibranium, sadly is not real, but by making Wakanda look real the story is elevated from "superhero movie" to a film with as much weight and seriousness as more "serious" films.
And Beachler did it by using as little blue screen as possible to create Wakanda, which is a nomination-worthy feat by itself.
"It was a challenge for us," Beachler said last fall. "For Ryan and I we saw the opportunity to create something with Marvel that they haven't done. You know, that's the way I look at how I would utilize the money is I had more of an opportunity to bring place to it. And be more detailed about it. And because it wasn't a place that existed or had really been defined in any other film -- I'm talking about Wakanda -- we could really play with that and we wanted to do a lot of practical builds. We didn't really want to use a lot of blue screen."prevnext
Music -- Original Song
Speaking of world-building and how the very creation of Wakanda for Black Panther could earn the movie nominations, we can't forget about Kendrick Lamar and SZA's single "All the Stars" as a serious contender for best original song. In fact, all of the music for Black Panther is deserving of recognition. Lamar didn't just write the chart-topping song, he also curated and produced the entire soundtrack for the film creating a unique sonic experience for a unique movie. Because Black Panther: The Album isn’t a traditional score it won’t get a nomination in that category, but we can definitely get behind best song.prevnext
Moving on to some of the more major categories, if cinematographer Rachel Morrison doesn't get a nod for Black Panther we will be very surprised. Morrison is up for an Oscar this year for Mudbound, a nomination that makes her the first female cinematographer to be nominated for an Academy Award. With that accomplishment already under her belt and considering that her work on Black Panther is every bit as excellent as her work on Mudbound, the odds are very much in her favor for a back-to-back nomination for Black Panther, taking Beachler's incredible design and bringing Wakanda fully to life.prevnext
While a best picture nomination for Black Panther is somewhat unlikely -- the film's early 2018 release date works against it a bit when it comes to that race -- director Ryan Coogler could still get nominated as best director. Coogler is already a well-respected director in Hollywood. Two of his previous films, Fruitvale Station and Creed, were both very well received by critics with Fruitvale Station bringing in several prestigious awards including Best First Film at 2013's Cannes Film Festival. With his work on Black Panther building on both of those successes and considering that under his direction Black Panther transcends the superhero genre to be a movie about representation and culture and social issues, it best director would be a fitting nomination.prevnext
Best Actor in a Supporting Role5comments
No list of Academy Award nomination considerations for Black Panther would be complete without the suggestion that Michael B. Jordan should get a nod for his role as Killmonger. Jordan brought the same level of nuance and mastery to Killmonger and his drive for revenge in the guise of justice as Ledger did for his turn as the Joker in The Dark Knight. While all of the performances in Black Panther were outstanding, Jordan's transcends and all but leaps off the screen. His Killmonger isn't just a comic book villain. He's a fully-formed person, an authentic representation a human being, and a movingly real portrayal of the directions pain and oppression can take a person. It would be amazing for him to be nominated and if nominated, Jordan could prove hard to beat.
Black Panther is now in theaters. It will be followed by Avengers: Infinity War on April 27th, Ant-Man and the Wasp on July 6th, Captain Marvel on March 8, 2019, the fourth Avengers movie on May 3, 2019, the sequel to Spider-Man: Homecoming on July 5, 2019, and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 in 2020.prev