Let’s get all the bullshit out of the way, shall we? I’m not mad because the first superhero Best Picture nominee is a movie that features predominantly black characters.
What am I mad about, is that they picked the most divisive film in the history of superhero movies and they didn’t even pick a superhero film that was in the Top 3 of this year.
Sure, they weren’t going to pick Deadpool 2, that one was a given. But Spider-Man: Into The Spiderverse is the best story told in a superhero film all year (and it was an animated film!) and Avengers: Infinity War was the best all-around superhero film this year, without question.
Plain and simple, this movie was not picked because of its quality, it was picked because of its content and what it represents. I’m not saying that what Black Panther represents isn’t good, I remain happy that we got a predominantly black superhero film, we need that kind of diversity in our content in order to learn how to write better films that everyone can associate with. But ask the average person if they think Black Panther is a Best Picture worthy film (without putting a political gun to their head) and they will tell you a resounding no.
Black Panther is not a Best Picture quality film. Hell, I would say the best superhero film this year in Avengers: Infinity War is not a Best Picture quality film. I’ve come to terms a long time ago that Oscar winning films are not cut from the same cloth that films I like are made from. They rarely put “fun” movies in that Best Picture slot, it’s always dark films, depressing films, frightening films, films based on horrifying events in history and then whatever musical film decided to get the thumbs up that given year. Nerd culture films are not Best Picture material, we all know this and have pretty much come to accept that.
So when Black Panther gets a Best Picture nominee and doesn’t have a single nominee in Best Director, Best Actor/Actress, Best Supporting Actor/Actress, Best Screenplay or hell, even Best Cinematography, is it not right for me to be a little suspicious. I mean sure, they’ve got nominations in the sound and design categories, but how does a Best Picture quality film not have a single nominee in the categories that are really, really supposed to mean something? Once again, it calls into question that the film isn’t high on quality, but high on the “message”.
There’s no doubt in my mind the Black Panther is a nomination born as a result of the outrage from the lack of black actors/actresses being nominated for the 2016 Academy Awards. People still haven’t gotten over it, racial tensions have heightened since and Black Panther since its initial trailers has been a film marred by racism from both sides. I haven’t forgotten the people that told all white people to stay home the first week and allow black people to enjoy the film first.
When I really think about it, the majority of my angers doesn’t even have to do with the awards themselves. I’ve said it before, my level of care for awards shows is really low. But giving Black Panther a Best Picture nomination when it’s very obvious that it’s racially motivated and has little to do with quality, it only serves to bolster both sides of the debate even more. The left gets to rub it in and the right is going to yell even louder and in larger numbers.
In the end, all this nomination is going to do, is make the culture war intensify. Racism on all sides will increase and like I said in my Covington article yesterday, this civil war we’re starting, it’s only going to get worse.
What a cruel fate for a movie that was actually pretty good. Who knows how much more I could’ve enjoyed the film had all this hatred not been infused into it from all sides.