Black Panther Keeps the Trail Blazing

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Vanessa Obioha

Just last week, ‘Black Panther’ achieved a historic feat as the first superhero movie to be nominated in the Best Picture category of the Academy Awards. The Academy is known for its strict selection that hardly favours commercially acclaimed movies. Having a blockbuster superhero movie on that spot was welcoming and well-deserved.

This week, the film scored another high point at the 25th Screen Actors Guild Awards that took place on Sunday. The Ryan Coogler directed movie took home two awards: the Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture and Outstanding Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Motion Picture. During the acceptance speech, Chadwick Boseman who played the titular character told the audience what it meant to be young, gifted and black in Hollywood which means less opportunities.

“That is what we went to work with everyday not because we knew we will be around during the awards season or make a billion dollars. We knew we had something special… to be full human beings in the roles that we were playing, that we could create a world that exemplifies the world we wanted to see.

We knew we had something that we wanted to give. So to go to work everyday and solve problems with these group of people (cast members and director), that is something I wish all actors would get the opportunities to experience. If you get to experience that, you will be a fulfilled artist,” Boseman said to a loud applause.

Released in 2018, ‘Black Panther’ was largely celebrated for having a diverse crew and portraying an Africa that is not impoverished, rather technologically advanced as seen in its fictional setting, Wakanda.

The chances of the Marvel Comics flick being selected in the major awards this season were slim but somehow, that permutation keeps tilting to a positive side for the superhero movie.

At the Golden Globes, the movie failed to win any award after being nominated in the Best Original Song, Best Original Score and Best Picture categories.

However, at the Critics Choice Awards, ‘Black Panther’ picked three awards (Best Production Design, Best Costume Design and Best Visual Effects) out of its 12 nominations.

With its win on Sunday, critics are weighing in on the chances that the blockbuster movie will clinch a Best Picture award at the Oscars.

Usually, the SAG Awards is the most accurate precursor to the outcomes of the Oscars and with ‘Black Panther’ winning the top honour, there are doubts that it will replicate such at the Oscars this month. One of the reasons argued was that the director Ryan Coogler did not fetch a nod in the Best Director category.

Notwithstanding, as the Oscars race kicks into full gear this month, Disney announced that it will be returning the movie to theatres. Starting today, February 1-7, fans can watch the movie for free at 250 participating AMC theaters as part of its celebration of Black History Month. According to the Associated Press, Disney would also be giving $1.5 million grant to support the United Negro College Fund.

It is the second time ‘Black Panther’ has been re-released since it opened in February 2018. For a day in November, it played for free in all art house theaters in the USA.