I can already kind of hear people’s jaws dropping but I’m going to go ahead and say it, Black Panther really doesn’t deserve a Best Picture Nomination. Now before the hate and vitriol starts rolling in let’s take a good look at some films that have earned this distinction and why I would say such a thing. It’s not that it wasn’t a good movie, since it was filled with action and a very great sense of purpose that many people were ready for. It’s not that it was a movie based on a comic book since this shouldn’t matter so long as the movie turned into something that people wanted to see. If there’s any reason why it just doesn’t deserve it then it’s likely because of the last half to 45 minutes of the movie. It’s because like always, the CGI is taking over when we really want to see some actual people going at it as those of us that can remember before CGI recall. Remember the hand to hand fights in movies that were and still are so well-choreographed that you can’t help but be amazed? Black Panther has some of that, but the majority of it is CGI-based and therefore is a computer simulation that is basically just another part of the overall program that so many movies have fallen into.
Best Picture needs to go to a movie that is not only rich in detail and story, as Black Panther is, but also something that’s going to actually lay bare the basis of humanity and show that the main characters are fallible and don’t need to rely on computer animation to do their own stunts all the time. Black Panther doesn’t fail in a lot of things, such as story, action, character development, and world-building. But it does fail in the fact that too many of us have seen the massive CGI battles time and time again. While they can be impressive and fun to watch they’re not quite as engaging as watching the antagonist and protagonist slug it out in a manner that leaves no doubt that one one of them won’t be walking away when it’s over. In terms of the overall picture though when you compare Black Panther to many other movies, it’s still lacking in regards to the fact that, while it’s a good movie, it’s not quite as complete.
Quite honestly if Black Panther was to take home Best Picture it would mean that the standards for such an award are beginning to drop even lower as the measure of a great film in Hollywood is up for debate, but has been seen to lower in certain years as the criteria for epics has decreased. As people want more and more action, sensationalism, and tend to lean more towards movies that are making a point and are being lauded as socially important we seem to be losing sight of the overall picture when it comes to what really constitutes a great movie. The Color Purple was a great movie, Out of Africa was a great movie, Goodfellas, Million Dollar Baby, Crash, and many other are worthy of this regard because they told compelling stories that were also socially important and revealed something either of American life and a part that we don’t always pay attention to or something equally as provocative that was considered to be worth the regard.
Black Panther is a good action action film, it is a good COMIC BOOK film, but aside from that it is not something that should be up for Best Picture. If it is being lauded for this it seems likely that it is being done in an effort to push the agenda that Black Panther was the first ever black superhero, which is very true. But he was not the first black Marvel hero to reach the screen, as many people seem to forget that Blade is a Marvel hero and was presented to the public in 1998, well before anyone ever thought to bring the Black Panther to the big screen. Yet no one seemed to mind that Blade wasn’t even considered for the Oscars. So what happened back then?
It’s true that Black Panther is a triumph in this day and age since it’s bringing another black superhero and his entire world into the mix, but Best Picture is stretching things a bit much when it comes to the kind of awards that this movie deserves. The mere consideration of being nominated is just a bit too much since it’s a fun and engaging movie, but when it comes to the overall effect it just tends to fall short near the mid to endpoint of the movie, as the CGI takes over far too fully and becomes a romp through the digital age that we’ve seen enacted so often. If a movie wants Best Picture then it really needs to stand on its own two feet, meaning that the effects are still warranted, but the overall effect has to make people forget about it and see the movie as something that could operate without CGI.