Last week, Black Panther made history when the Marvel film walked away with three awards. The movie may not have taken away the award for Best Picture, but it did win awards for Best Production Design, Best Costume Design, and Best Original Music Score.
The Award Ceremony marks the first time that any MCU film has won an Oscar. MCU has brought us visual-effect feasts like Guardians Of The Galaxy along with the enormously popular Avengers franchise. On top of this, Hannah Beachler and Ruth E. Carter became the first African-American women to win Oscars in their categories (Production and Costume Design).
“This has been a long time coming,” Ruth Carter said in her acceptance speech. “Marvel may have created the first black superhero but through costume design we turned him into an African king.”
But why is this so important? Let’s rewind back to early 2018 when there was a huge buzz surrounding Black Panther and the cultural footprint it was about to make. The movie marked the first time in history that a mainstream, megabudget movie featured a predominantly black cast and director. This movie then went onto become one of the highest grossing movies of all time.
It isn’t just the case that Black Panther has a black cast. The movie is a celebration of African and African American culture. It unapologetically deals with the modern experience of being black, both in America and the fictional world of Wakanda. What’s more, Black Panther has given millions of children who may have struggled to find a superhero they identify with a whole new host of phenomenal characters to dress up as on Halloween.
One of the remarkable successes of Black Panther is not simply the fact that the film is so wonderfully Afrocentric. What is impressive is how it became an extremely popular movie, both among MCU fans and elsewhere. While sometimes mainstream movies are accused of appropriating black culture in ways that make it “more consumable” for White American audiences, Black Panther did not compromise its identity for the mainstream and the mainstream loved it. And now it has three Oscars. It has three Oscars which prove that Black Panther objectively is a great movie, with sensational costume design, production and music. And that is something to celebrate.