On Dec. 6, the Golden Globes announced its picks for the best in film and television. Traditionally, the Globes have had two categories for best picture,allowing more films to get nominated. While the Oscars allow for up to 10 nominees, recent years have had only seven or eight nominated films. The reason the Academy Awards moved up the potential number was because there was a lot backlash when 2008’s The Dark Knight didn’t get a nomination.
Ten years later, the Academy has still not truly recognized the films that the extra spots were supposed to go to. Not a single comic book film has crossed over. Until maybe now. Marvel’s Black Panther movie has garnered a lot of Academy Awards talk, and the Golden Globes nominated it for Best Picture Drama. While a worthy accomplishment, the film earned only one other nomination at the Globes for best song. No acting nominations. No director or screenplay recognized. To not acknowledge the filmmakers makes the nomination look odd. As if the film was made in vacuum. Do those behind Globes really believe this film deserves the nomination, or is the accolade stemmed out of fear if they don’t nominate it?
In 2016, the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite populated Twitter and other social media platforms when Creed and Straight Out of Compton failed to earn any acting or writing nominations for their black leads and supporting actors.Since then, the Academy and the Globes have attempted to rectify this by opening up the membership to these organizations. While Black Panther is an excellent film, I feel as if the nomination came more out of fear of backlash than true admiration. The nine other nominated films, across both musical/comedy and drama, all have acting or screenplay, or directing nominations. Writer/Director Ryan Coogler and actor Michael B. Jordan are truly worthy of being nominated. So, if the Globes don’t think the film has the best in the other categories, what makes the film so good exactly to them?
I’m sure Marvel and Disney aren’t complaining about the nomination, but there has to be a sense that the film is not respected the same way the others are.Marvel President Kevin Feige recently stated that he just would like the film to be acknowledged.
“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,’ ” Feigetold The Los Angeles Times in an interview. “And that he did it so unbelievably well and with so much impact […] seeing that potentially being recognized is what excites me the most.”
My concern is that if the film gets the same treatment at the Oscars, then the film will be a token, being nominated to make the voting members feel good about themselves while not acknowledging the reasons the film is so good. I believe the voters feel pressured to anoint a film out of fear of looking bigoted,and if that comes across, then the film will lose some of its classic status. Politics appear to be directing the campaign more the artful final film presented.
What Black Panther means to the film industry and black community is so much, that if the film is nominated out of obligation, then that becomes the negative narrative.
The New York Times recently interviewed Jamie Broadnax, the founder of Black Girl Nerds, about the cultural significance of the film.
“It’s the first time in a very long time that we’re seeing a film with centered black people, where we have a lot of agency,” she said. Adding that the characters “are rulers of a kingdom, inventors and creators of advanced technology. We’re not dealing with black pain, and black suffering, and black poverty,” like most black films deal with in their themes and plot lines.
Personally, I hope the film is nominated for Best Picture, but if the Academy really wants to show its appreciation for a genre-bending comic book picture, the film will be nominated for those responsible for its greatness as well.