‘Black Panther’ has added to its accolades with a Golden Globe nomination and AFI recognition. Can it break through superhero skepticism at the Oscars?
Thus far, however, the financial windfall for superheroes hasn’t translated into major awards recognition. Last year, buzz surrounded the prospects of another trailblazer, “Wonder Woman,” but the entry from Marvel rival DC didn’t make the Oscar cut.
A best-picture nomination for “Black Panther” would cap a decade-long effort to foster recognition for such movies, following a much-ridiculed proposal by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences earlier this year to introduce a new “popular film” category.
The original push centered on “The Dark Knight,” Christopher Nolan’s sequel to “Batman Begins,” which failed to receive a best-picture nomination (although Heath Ledger was honored, posthumously, for his role as the Joker).
After that, the academy increased the number of best-picture nominees from five to as many as 10, hoping the expanded field would enable more widely seen movies to get into the mix.
The industry’s biggest attractions, however, have faced ingrained skepticism from Oscar voters, which explains the “popular film” trial balloon, which many saw as an act of desperation and pandering intended to mollify ABC, the network that televises the awards, after a sizable dip in last year’s ratings.

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