What are the odds of Black Panther winning Best Picture at the Oscars?


Black Panther has some tough competition at the Oscars this year. But are the odds in favor of Black Panther winning Best Picture?

Another awards season is wrapping up, but it can’t be completely done without the Academy Awards. This year’s Oscars has been a rollercoaster, to say the least, and they haven’t even happened yet.

It started with the addition and removal of the Popular Film category. Next, it was the Kevin Hart controversy to having no Oscars host at all. And just recently, it was the removal and subsequent re-addition of the Film Editing, Cinematography, Live Action Short, and Makeup and Hairstyling categories in its live broadcast.

And wrapped into that is a new batch of movies that, arguably, are some of the most popular Best Picture choices in years. That includes Black Panther, which has already seemed to defeat all the odds just by gaining a nomination. It’s the first superhero movie to ever be nominated for Best Picture, and has six other Oscar nominations on top of that.

Now that awards season is coming to a close, we can see Black Panther‘s chances for winning clearer now. Here’s how things could play out at the Academy Awards for Black Panther this year.

A case for winning

Black Panther winning Best Picture is most perfectly summed up as “we came too far to back down now.” The Academy’s constant tripping over itself might lead them to make a bold decision such as this to save their butts.

In 2017, the Oscars picked up an entire bouquet of oopsie daises when La La Land was mistaken for Best Picture over Moonlight. While it technically wasn’t the Academy’s fault, it still reflected poorly on the Oscars for such a huge mistake to happen. 2018 brought a much safer Oscars broadcast, but it was the “least-watched Oscars in modern history,” according to VarietyJudging by all the hasty decisions made by the Academy for just this year’s broadcast alone, it shows that they’re trying anything to get audiences back.

That’s where Black Panther comes in. I’ve already talked about my suspicion about Black Panther’s nomination and how it might have been fanservice just to get audiences watching. But in brief, while other Best Picture nominees typically have actors and directors nominated for their respective awards to solidify that it’s Best Picture worthy, Black Panther had none of that. Still, the Academy might be banking on surprising viewers at the last moment by closing the night with a Black Panther win.

It’s a move that would make headlines, bringing positive buzz on Monday morning as well as a long-lasting stamp in cinema history. The Academy would mark Feb. 24, 2019, as the day they saved the Oscars, as millions of adoring Oscars fans come running back to give them a “hip, hip, hoorah!”

Of course, that fantasy sounds good and well. But will the Academy really be that risky this year?

A case for losing

After the Academy wakes up from its daydream of having its fans carry them on their shoulders like some high school quarterback that won the big homecoming game, they’ll go right back to reality.

And in reality, the question is, “Is a superhero movie really better than a high-brow film, or a biopic, or a period piece?” For me, the answer is yes. For the Academy, the answer might not be so clear. So the Academy has to look back at this year’s awards season to see if Black Panther stands a chance

At the Golden Globes, Black Panther lost the Best Motion Picture Award – Drama to Bohemian Rhapsody. And while it wasn’t nominated in the Musical or Comedy category, let’s just note that Green Book won that award. No actor nor the director from Black Panther was nominated at the Golden Globes, so that’s going to be some points deducted as well.

At the SAG Awards, Black Panther did have a victory. The cast closed the night with a win for Outstanding Performance by a Cast, which at least makes up for the acting snubs from the Oscars and Golden Globes. Unfortunately, SAG awards are all about acting, and not about the movie as a whole. So the Academy will only have to add partial points for this win.

The Critics’ Choice Award’s best film? Roma. BAFTA’s Film Award? Roma. And none for Black Panther.

Black Panther did win two Grammys earlier in the month, but the Academy voters likely hadn’t taken those into consideration for Best Picture, unfortunately.

So, that’s that. The Oscars voters watched the awards season closely, took notes, and thought about everything at stake. But will the voters stick with what they know, or will they opt to create a historical moment that could save the Oscars as a whole?

The odds

Weighing the evidence, the Academy typically runs more in favor with the trends of the awards season than with making completely left-field decisions.

And while crunching all the numbers would be a laborious and ill-handled task for me, thankfully, Oscar numbers-cruncher Ben Zauzmer has done all the work for us curious-minded people.

Zauzmer released his final predictions today on The Hollywood Reporter, and things don’t look so great for Black Panther.

Of all the nominees, according to his math, Black Panther has the lowest odds of winning with just a 4.1 percent chance.

He came to this conclusion by his formula, which he says is 100 percent math and statistics based on nominations, awards wins, and betting markets. And while we’d like to hope that “opinions and hunches” (as he calls it) holds some weight, his numbers last year led him to accurately predict The Shape of Water winning.

Elsewhere around the web, the consensus is the same — that Black Panther is among the films with the lowest odds of winning, and Roma and Green Book have the highest odds of winning. Even our very own Kristen Lopez has Roma coming out on top, so it looks like it won’t be a year of surprises this time.

Must Read. Oscars 2019: Our final winner predictions. light

In the end, Roma seems to be the likely choice for Best Picture winner, not Black Panther. Despite Black Panther carrying so much cultural and historical weight on it, that doesn’t seem to be outweighed by the classic Best Picture qualities that the other films have.

Black Panther may be the king of Wakanda, but it’s likely he won’t be the king of the Oscars.