Oscars Theme Will be About the Cultural Importance of Movies Such as 'Black Panther'

The 91st Academy Awards are this week and film fans are eager to find out what the ceremony has in store. It's been a long journey to this year's Oscars that included a lot of reversed decisions, but it appears the Academy has made a final decision about the show's theme.

During an interview with the LA Times, Donna Gigliotti, one of the this year's Oscars producers, revealed some inside scoop about the theme.

"Is there an overarching theme to the show this year," the LA Times asked, "And if there is, how did you arrive at that?"

"If there is a theme — and I think there is — it's about movies as an empathetic art form," Gigliotti replied. "Movies connect people. Movies bring people together. Movies have cultural importance. That's sort of our theme, which we take a lot from the films themselves — Black Panther being a perfectly good example of this, where there are a lot of people who saw Black Panther who now understand something about black culture they didn't understand before."

Black Panther does seem to be one of the biggest topics of discussion this Awards Season, so it's no surprise the Academy would lean into the film's popularity. Not only is it the first superhero movie to be nominated for Best Picture, but it actually stands a chance at winning.

The Oscar race is particularly interesting this year, because for the first time ever, every single major guild and industry group awarded a different film the top prize during their Awards Season ceremony.

The Producer's Guild awarded Green Book, the Director's Guild prize went to Roma, the Screen Actor's Guild chose Black Panther, the American Cinema Editors awarded Bohemian Rhapsody for Best Drama and The Favourite for Best Comedy. The Writer's Guild really shook things up and awarded their top two prizes to Can You Ever Forgive Me? and Eighth Grade, which were both snubbed for Best Picture at the Oscars. In fact, the latter was completely shut out of the Academy Award nominations.

Basically, this means Best Picture is a wide open category.

In addition to Best Picture, Black Panther is also nominated for Best Original Score, Best Original Song, Best Costume Design, Best Production Design, Best Sound Mixing, and Best Sound Editing.

In addition to winning the SAG Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture, Black Panther also took home a Grammy Award for Best Score Soundtrack for Visual Media (Ludwig Göransson) and Best Rap Performance for "Kings Dead" (Jay Rock, Kendrick Lamar, Future and James Blake).

The road to the Oscars have been a bit shaky this year. Originally, it was announced that "Shallow" from A Star is Born and "All the Stars" from Black Panther would be the only songs performed at the ceremony. Rumor has it Lady Gaga, who will be performing "Shallow," fought the Academy on the decision which is why it was ultimately reversed.

Other reversed decisions from the Academy include the addition of the "Popular Film Oscar," which was very clearly pitched as an idea to award successful films such as Black Panther. The backlash was intense, and the Academy changed their minds.

It was also recently announced that certain awards would be presented during the commercial breaks, including Best Editing and Best Cinematography. Once again, the decision was reversed due to backlash. This will also be the first Oscars since 1988 without a host.

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Black Panther is currently streaming on Netflix. The 91st Academy Awards air Sunday, February 24th at 8pm EST on ABC.