Black Panther was predicted to be a cultural windfall for black content in the mainstream and an Oscar would be a worthy crown to a royal achievement.
Back in 2014, Kevin Feige announced that Marvel would be releasing a Black Panther movie sooner than anyone expected, with Ryan Coogler at the helm and Chadwick Boseman starring in the title role. There was even a brief moment in which Marvel actually contemplated pushing Black Panther to July 2019 .
Back in 2016, as the picture began to take shape, the public speculated upon the historic importance of what a then-unseen world of Wakanda would look like.
Here’s what we wrote about the 1.35 billion box office hit back in March 2018.
“What has been missing from cinema and television has always been blackness for the sole purpose of blackness; and not as an incidental happenstance of plot, dialogue, set design or costumes.
Blackness that is unencumbered by mainstream sensibilities, is beautiful, proud, complex, advanced and forward-thinking. This has fueled an often reluctant African-American populous to the movie theaters in unheard of numbers.”
The very aesthetics of this movie were so overwhelming and authentically black that people are still raving about it today as we’re elbow deep in the movie and television award season.
It has to be one of the blackest things that I’ve ever seen in film, and I mean that with all due respect.
From a mainstream perspective, Black Panther has broken records that no one outside of those immediately involved with the project could have fathomed.
The ensemble cast with Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Letitia Wright, Daniel Kaluuya, Lupita Nyong’o, Angela Bassett and Winston Duke was also an unprecedented happenstance in black cinema simply based on the size as well as acumen. And tell me it wasn’t the very flyest shit you’ve ever seen in your natural born life.
Now, standing at the temporal precipice, at that point where things are remembered forever or dismissed to the land of inconsequential also-rans, Black Panther stands triumphant as a masterpiece of black thought that was also brought to life by the incredible talents of cinematographer Rachel Morrison.
Indeed, who could have imagined that Ruth E. Carter’s gifts would be so profound as to have the viewer imagine all the nuances of a fictional Wakanda that is insular, advanced and proud.
The glistening multitude of melanated magnificence was but one of the many moving aspects of this film.
With the 91st Annual Academy Awards spiraling toward us at breakneck speed, this concoction of cinematic soul has been tabbed as being worthy of mention among the very best in seven categories.
From Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures (Original Score) to Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, and Best Picture, every aspect of Black Panther is being celebrated as cutting edge.
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All this, despite rumblings from some regarding a film based on a comic book being nominated in the Best Picture category.
Any consternation in regards to, or admonishment regarding, the content or aesthetics of Black Panther is but stardust in the void relative to the overwhelmingly positive reviews and accolades that have been showered upon it.
Back in December, The Shadow League interviewed screen queen Angela Bassett, who played Queen Ramonda and has starred in at least three films where we think she should’ve won an Academy Award.
Here’s what she had to say when asked of her initial reaction to Black Panther being nominated for several awards at multiple award shows.
“..(T)here were rumblings that these types of movies, superheroes, comic books, don’t deserve, that these sort of movies don’t garner that type of serious recognition. That took me back. It was a superhero movie, but there was resonance on so many levels in that movie.”
“The superhero genre was how it was told, but there was nothing fluff about it. It was the type of film that dissertations can be written about from various angles. So I was very pleased to see that others thought it’s worthwhile. I think it should be celebrated. It’s worthy. I think the next step is that it wins.”
After receiving no love at the Golden Globe Awards, Black Panther walked away with the Outstanding Performance By a Cast and Outstanding Action Performance By a Stunt Ensemble awards at the 25th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards.
With the Academy Awards looming approximately a month into the future, the crowning of Marvel’s Black Panther as Best Picture will be the only jewel shiny enough to to sit atop director Ryan Coogler’s throne.