Black Panther is still winning despite its Best Picture loss at the Oscars


Black Panther didn’t take home the biggest award of the night. But the Oscars were still full of wins for Black Panther and its team.

As of last night, Black Panther went from being “Oscar-nominated movie Black Panther” to “Oscar-winning movie Black Panther.”

No, it didn’t take home the award for Best Picture, but it still won three Oscars for other categories — and that’s a huge achievement for a movie like this.

Marvel’s film about a Wakanda king kicked off its awards winning streak with a monumental win for the movie: Best Costume Design. The recipient, Ruth Carter, had previously been nominated for Oscars. But Sunday marked the first win for her, the first win for Black Panther, and the first Oscar win for Marvel Studios.

Black Panther‘s speeches

Carter had a moving acceptance speech that spoke to the environment behind the scenes for Black Panther. For someone to have such a long career in the industry (earning nominations for Malcolm X and Amistad), it really speaks to the uniqueness of Black Panther, as she mentioned the creative freedom she had working on the costumes and the dynamic team of women she worked with:

"Marvel may have created the first black superhero but through costume design, we turned him into an African king. It’s been my life’s honor to create costumes. Thank you to the Academy. Thank you for honoring African royalty and the empowered way women can look and lead onscreen.Thank you to my crews around the world who helped bring Wakanda to life. Our genius director, Ryan Coogler, you are a guiding force. Thank you for your trust and understanding my role in telling the African-American story."

The next award, Production Design, marked yet another historic win. In all of Oscars history, Hannah Beachler was the first African American person to be nominated for Production Design. Of course, when she took home the win (sharing the award with Jay Hart), it became the first win of that kind for an African American person, too.

Beachler also thanked director Ryan Coogler in her speech, as well as Marvel, for being able to support her throughout making the movie:

"I stand here stronger than I was yesterday. I stand here with agency and self-worth because of Ryan Coogler. You not only made me a better designer, a better storyteller, a better person, I stand here because of this man who offered me a different perspective of life, who offered me a safe space, who’s patient and gave me air, humanity and brotherhood. Thank you, Ryan. I love you. I am stronger because Marvel, who gave me the opportunity to do my best, who supported the vision of this film, and lifted us up every day."

Beachler closed her speech with a bit of advice, which was especially fitting given the historical nomination she just won, and the impact of Black Panther:

"I give this strength to all of those who come next, to keep going, to never give up. And when you think it’s impossible, just remember to say this piece of advice I got from a very wise woman: I did my best, and my best is good enough. Thank you."

The last win for Black Panther went to composer Ludwig Göransson for Original Score. Just two weeks ago, Göransson won Black Panther a Grammy (making it one of Marvel’s first Grammys) for the score as well. So it was a sure shot that Black Panther‘s amazing score would have that win in the bag, too.

Göransson followed the trend of the previous Black Panther winners, showing a huge amount of gratitude to Ryan Coogler for his support and helping it all come together:

"Thank you, Ryan Coogler. Ryan, Ryan working with you has been an incredible honor. I remember 12 years ago we were sitting in our dorm at USC writing the score for your first short film. And we’re here 12 years later, you know, celebrating one of the most important cinematic moments in history."

Black Panther’s post-Oscars impact

Between the three winners’ speeches, it shows just how much of a young visionary Ryan Coogler is. In a way, he shares those three awards from that night. But it doesn’t detract from the fact that he very well deserved to have a Best Director nomination.

What stands out about this movie is that Coogler not only brought diversity on screen, but behind the scenes as well. This is especially important given the opportunity for women and minorities in film has still been quite narrow. When people like Coogler are able to create a diverse production environment, you simply get a much better outcome, hands down.

Take, for example, the impact of Black Panther versus the actual Best Picture winner, Green Book. Despite Green Book being about an African American man who made history, the crew going up to accept the award on stage was predominantly white. Without the diversity of thoughts, opinions and experiences to help shape the movie, it ended up receiving a lot of backlash for being very much out of touch.

Needless to say, many people weren’t happy with the final win of the night (just ask Spike Lee). And that just acts as further proof to show that diverse movies like Black Panther will be much more celebrated than those that aren’t.

Even if Black Panther didn’t win Best Picture, it still took home three Oscars. That’s an immensely huge achievement — one that might even shape film and the Oscars as we know it. We can get nominations for movies about Africa, we can get nominations for movies with a diverse cast and crew, and we can even get nominations for superhero movies. That might not have been possible in the past, but Black Panther is showing that it’s certainly possible today.

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This may mark a closing chapter for Black Panther right now. But Black Panther 2 is in the works, which means there’s more history to be made very soon.