Was ‘Black Panther’ Oscar Worthy? Here’s What MCHS Had to Say


Image Source: Getty / Jeff Kravitz

Mollie Baker, Staff Reporter

Black Panther is an academy awards best picture nominee and was released by Marvel Studios in February of 2018. The movie is about the prince of a fictional African country (Wakanda) and how he is also the sacred protector of this country, The Black Panther. He is challenged by an “outsider,” his cousin, for the throne. He loses and is brought back from the dead to win back his country. Leading up to last months Academy Awards, the film’s nomination sparked some fierce debate across the prism of the Internet with some people praising the nomination due to the film’s breaking of a racial glass ceiling in Hollywood and the culture in which the film portrayed, while others felt the nomination was pandering to demographics as the film to many was above average and certainly not Oscar worthy.

The Madisonian conducted its own local poll to get the feel of the school climate’s opinion of Black Panther‘s nomination. According to the poll, 45% of respondents thought it was a “good” movie. But is this the reason that it was nominated? Some popular theories about why it was nominated are the social significance of the movie, the demographics of the cast, and with the quality of film being the third ingredient to the recipe.

Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP
Ruth E. Carter accepts the award for best costume design for “Black Panther” at the Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 24, 2019, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)

Most people in the survey felt that it should have, in fact, been nominated for the Oscars. Black Panther was not only nominated for Best Picture, but it was also nominated for Best Original Score, Best Sound Mixing, Best Costume Design, Best Production Design, and Best Sound Editing. The film had already won numerous awards for the best villain, best production design, and many others for shows like MTV and the Teen Choice Awards.

So, was the film actually good, or was it nominated for social reasons? MCHS Theatre Director Aaron Kelsey summed up the two sides. “I know it was of importance because of the storyline and all African- American casting.  However, I don’t know if that is reason enough for a film to be nominated. I think our country’s race issues are at a strange point,” Kelsey said. “I think it is more of an individual issue and we keep making broad gestures that just alienate the “other side.”

It seems that the most popular feeling in the survey was that Black Panther is a good movie, and that is why it was nominated, absolutely nothing to do with race. Leading up to the ceremony last month, the debate continues to stoke the fires of the public the opinion. MCHS Choir teacher Kate Zolvinski had a differing opinion than that of Mr.Kelsey. “It makes me happy to see mainstream media represent and be more inclusive of the different cultures we see in everyday society. I think it’s a step in a good direction.  I believe the same is true for the movie Crazy Rich Asians as well,” Zolvinski said.

As for MCHS’ opinions, 62.5% said that if they were on the Oscar’s Board they would have nominated Black Panther for an Oscar (not just Best Picture), 16.7% would not, and the rest are either unsure or don’t care. 37.5% would have nominated it for Best  Picture, 20.8% would have nominated it for Best Soundtrack, and 16.7% of people for Best CGI, 

Overall, Black Panther was heavily critically acclaimed. The film has a 97% on Rotten Tomatoes, 88% on Metacritic, and 7.4 / 10 on IMDb. Most reviews that are out there seem to be fairly positive.

According to Paul Asay from Plugged In, “Black Panther has a good heart, and it gives us a real hero—strong and honorable and, when possible, even filled with grace.” This type of review is commonplace when it comes to the general reaction from critics. 

Whatever it was nominated for, most people that have seen the film feel that it was a good movie. It was very enjoyable and a great addition to the Marvel franchise. With many new and lovable characters added to the mix, it has definitely stirred up a lot of talks while adding to the Marvel lore and the history of Hollywood.

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