It’s been a few weeks now, but cinephiles and casual movie fans alike are still a bit rankled by the Academy Awards’ announcement of an upcoming “Popular Film” category at the Oscars. While it’s still unclear exactly what the criteria for the new category will be, many viewers believe this is a way to give blockbuster films a shot at a “consolation Oscar,” while the more traditionally “artistic” or “prestige” films will still have a stranglehold on the classic categories. The Academy tried to assuage those fears, but many are still giving the Oscars a big ol’ side-eye.
The movie most people believed would be given a consolation “Popular Film” Oscar in its first year is Black Panther, which ruled the world with fans and critics alike, not to mention its monster haul at the box office. Marvel honcho Kevin Feige spoke out recently, and is adamant that Black Panther deserves a shot at that Best Picture nomination. Now we know that the Black Panther himself agrees.
During an appearance on a podcast for the Hollywood Reporter, Chadwick Boseman echoed Feige’s sentiments and offered up a very strong argument for Black Panther being in the running for the whole shebang. Transcript courtesy of the Hollywood Reporter:
“We don’t know what it [the new prize] is, so I don’t know whether to be happy about it or not. What I can say is that there’s no campaign [that we are mounting] for popular film; like, if there’s a campaign, it’s for Best Picture, and that’s all there is to it.
“A good movie is a good movie, and clearly it doesn’t matter how much money a movie makes in order for it to be ‘a good movie’ [in the minds of Academy members] because if [it did], the movies that get nominated and win [which have tended in recent years to not be blockbusters] wouldn’t get nominated; and if it doesn’t matter, it doesn’t matter on both sides. For my money, the only thing that matters is the level of difficulty.
“What we did was very difficult. We created a world, we created a culture… we had to create a religion, a spirituality, a politics; we had to create an accent; we had to pull from different cultures to create clothing styles and hair styles. It’s very much like a period piece… So, as far as that’s concerned, I dare any movie to try to compare to the [level of] difficulty of this one. And the fact that so many people liked it — if you just say it’s [merely] popular, that’s elitist.”
I think most fans would be hard-pressed to disagree with Boseman’s take on the situation. We’ll find out if the Academy agrees come 2019.