- “Black Panther” and “Roma” didn’t win best picture at the Oscars on Sunday, but they didn’t go away empty handed.
- Both movies won three Oscars, proving the Academy has opened up to Marvel and Netflix in ways it hadn’t a few years ago.
- It was a night of firsts for the Oscars, thanks largely to “Black Panther” and “Roma.”
“Black Panther” and “Roma” were two of the most critically acclaimed but contentious movies heading into this year’s Oscars on Sunday. Could a Marvel superhero blockbuster and a Netflix foreign-language film break through with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences?
Both movies lost the coveted best picture award to the controversial“Green Book,” but they didn’t go home empty handed. And those wins could signal that the Oscars are more open to Marvel and Netflix now than they were a few years ago, despite the big win for “Green Book” and the ensuing conversation surrounding it.
Both movies represent the changing Hollywood landscape better than any of the other best picture nominees. “Black Panther” takes place within a cinematic universe of connected movies that other studios have tried to duplicate. It’s rare for a movie today to smash the box office if it’s not part of a larger franchise, a trend that the Marvel Cinematic Universe embodies.
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Alfonso Cuarón’s “Roma” is a Netflix movie. The streaming giant has the distinction of being an industry disruptor. It released “Roma” in select theatres ahead of making it available to stream, something it had never done before, and it reportedly spent up to $US20 million on its campaign to win best picture. But many within the film industry were still hesitant to embrace the streamer, including Steven Spielberg, who said about Netflix movies that “once you commit to a television format, you’re a TV movie.”
And yet, both “Black Panther” and “Roma” won three Oscars, and “Roma” was tied with “The Favourite” as the most nominated movie of the night, showing that they had strong support among voters in the Academy.
“Black Panther” won for costume design, production design, and original score, while “Roma” won for director, foreign-language film, and cinematography. Those wins also weren’t surprising to Oscars observers, further solidifying a shifting mindset with the Academy.
A night of firsts for the Oscars
“Black Panther” was the biggest movie in the US of 2018, raking in over $US700 million domestically and over $US1 billion worldwide. This isn’t the first time that the Oscars have embraced a box-office sensation, but it is the first time it’s done so for a superhero movie.
“Black Panther” is the first superhero movie to be nominated for best picture, 10 years after “The Dark Knight” was infamously snubbed and the Academy increased the number of nominees the following year. It’s raised the bar for the superhero genre, and its success has opened more doors for superhero movies, even if that success will be difficult to replicate in the future.
Marvel Studios launched its first real Oscars campaign for “Black Panther,” and pulled off its first wins. Ruth Carter and Hannah Beachler became the first black women to win the Oscar for best costume design and best production design for “Black Panther,” respectively.
“Roma,” meanwhile, helped Netflix break its Oscars curse. The streamer won best documentary feature last year for “Icarus,” but has never managed to really break though until this year. On top of “Roma’s” 10 nominations, it picked up three nominations for “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs,” and two short film nominations (it won best documentary short for “Period. End of Sentence”).
Cuarón won the best cinematography Oscar, becoming the first director to win the award for shooting their own movie. “Roma” was the first Mexican film to win the best foreign-language Oscar.
It was a night of firsts for the Oscars, and they can be attributed to Marvel and Netflix. Before “Black Panther” and “Roma,” that seemed unthinkable.