Disney and Marvel Studios may enjoy several Oscar® nominations for their achievements in popular filmmaking in the years to come. That does not mean, however, that they are content to settle only for the Academy’s new category. For Black Panther, Disney and Marvel still have their sights set on several categories, including Best Picture.

“I would like to see the hard work and the effort and the vision and the belief of the talented filmmaker Ryan Coogler, who 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,’” Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige told the Los Angeles Times. “And that he did it so unbelievably well and with so much impact … seeing that potentially being recognized is what excites me the most.”

Feige is giving the Black Panther Oscar® push an unprecedented level of support. For the first time ever, Marvel Studios has set aside significant funds for an awards campaign.

Marvel Studios is not on their own here. Parent company Disney is also supporting Black Panther, having secured the services of veteran Oscar® strategist Cynthia Swartz to oversee and maximize the effectiveness of the Black Panther campaign.

The campaign has been underway for a number of months already, but will obviously heat up as we get closer to awards season. Disney and Marvel are undeterred by the Academy’s new category for popular movies. They’re still pushing Black Panther for the top prize of Best Picture, a category in which no superhero film has ever been nominated.

Black Panther may have the best shot any superhero film has ever had at breaking through that barrier. At the very least, it has the best chance since The Dark Knight a decade ago. Black Panther is expected to contend for nominations in several categories including popular film (it can be nominated there and for Best Picture), costume design, and original song. Black Panther could even score two nominations in the latter category. Director Ryan Coogler is also a legitimate contender for a Best Director nod.

If Black Panther piles up nominations in the several other categories, that momentum could carry over to a Best Picture nomination. Even without those potential nominations, Academy voters are going to be reminded many times just how well-received Black Panther was by critics and audiences.

The Academy shouldn’t have much trouble remembering just how much of a cultural phenomenon Black Panther was this year. After all, the Academy name-dropped the film no less than three times during last March’s Oscar® telecast.

Time will tell if the Academy will nominate Black Panther for more than its achievements as a popular film. Those achievements, however, are nothing to sneeze at with Black Panther becoming just the third film ever to top $700M at the domestic box office on its way to $1.35B worldwide. The impact of Black Panther went well beyond dollar and cents, as the film took over the pop culture landscape in a way few films ever have.

Black Panther does not need a single Oscar® nomination to validate its success. Of course, a little recognition never hurt and is a nice feather in the cap of those who put the work in.

“I think it would be wonderful,” says Feige as he keeps any potential Oscar® nominations in proper perspective. “The people behind the camera, the people on screen that acted in the movie, any of them being recognized would bring us great joy because they did tremendous work. And it’s always nice when tremendous work is recognized.”

SOURCE:  LA Times