It’s a big day for fans of comic-book movies. Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther, the 18th film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, has entered the Oscars race by earning a Best Picture nomination. Didn’t see that coming, eh? The film has also secured nominations in 6 other categories including Best Sound editing, Best Sound Mixing, Best Production Design, and Best Costume Design. It’s also been nominated for Best Original Song and Best Original Score.

The film, starring Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan in central roles was received with near universal acclaim when it released last year. Critics hailed it as one of the best movies ever made within the MCU. Black Panther also made waves regarding the fact that the cast was predominantly black. It only made sense that the film would be in the Oscars circuit, especially given the current climate of the film industry. What does that mean?

Black Panther | Best Movies
Black Panther’s diverse cast includes Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, Daniel Kaluuya, Winston Duke, Letitia Wright, Angela Basset & Forest Whitaker

Representation has always been one of the weaker aspects of Hollywood. It is one of the chief reasons why films like Black Panther and Crazy Rich Asians get as much traction as they do, and for good reason. Marvel Studios’ President Kevin Feige had expressed in developing a film based on the characters and world of Wakanda from the very inception of the MCU. And with the commercial, as well as the critical success of Black Panther, they’re going forward with adding more diversity to their cinematic universe. Another thing to note is that Avengers: Infinity War, another major MCU instalment, has also secured a nomination under Best Visual Effects.

It’s important to note that the film’s nomination does come with a few caveats. For starters, the very fact that the film made a lot of buzz was in fact related to the representation issue mentioned above. The Oscars have been coming under fire the last few years for including only white-led feature films in their nominations. So much so that there was an Oscars boycott movement just last year. Remember #OscarsSoWhite? Yeah. Many people were expecting the film’s nomination at the Oscars given all the unwanted attention that they’ve been getting. And hence, the chances of the movie winning the award are fairly slim.

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Chadwick Boseman in and as Black Panther

In any case, Black Panther’s nomination at the Academy Awards is a huge step in the recognition of Comic book movie genre. The last superhero film to win an Academy Award in a non-technical category was The Dark Knight, and it was fairly well deserving. Will Ryan Coogler’s movie finally break the superhero awards barrier? Only time will tell.

You can read our Black Panther review here, and abou this year’s Oscar nominees here.