Representation is a key part of Black Panther’s phenomenal success, and that won’t change if the movie wins Best Picture at the Academy Awards.
As the producer of the film, Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige is the only name that will be inside the envelope if the superhero movie claims the top Oscar, but he says it’s vital for a person of color to speak to the world.
In an interview with EW’s The Awardist podcast, Feige said he would want director and co-writer Ryan Coogler to take the mic during that moment of accomplishment.
“He will have no choice,” Feige joked. “Without question — because it is Ryan’s film, and it is Ryan’s achievement. It would be a must. I would ask him, very kindly, to be there.”
The two men tend to be generous with giving each other credit, so what if the Fruitvale Station and Creed filmmaker tried to demur?
“To be honest with you, I think the cast would [take care of] that for me,” Feige said. “They would pick him up and carry him up onto that stage.”
Black Panther has seven total nominations, including Best Picture — which is a first for a comic book superhero movie. But Feige acknowledged that the awards attention is somewhat bittersweet because Coogler was not nominated for director or adapted screenplay.
“I think it is,” Feige said, adding that the filmmaker himself is not feeling snubbed. “Ryan is very pleased that the film [was honored] and he would much rather, if you ask him, see that his crew members be recognized, which so many of them were.”
The other Black Panther nominations were Ruth Carter for costume design; Benjamin A. Burtt and Steve Boeddeker for sound design; Boeddeker, Brandon Proctor, and Peter J. Devlin for sound mixing; composer Ludwig Göransson; Sounwave, Kendrick Lamar, Anthony Tiffith, and SZA for original song “All the Stars”; and production design for Hannah Beachler, the first African-American woman ever nominated in the category, alongside set decorator Jay Hart.
Feige said he is also most proud of helping support this team of artists as they told a story that has proven to be a landmark in black cinema. He said the reason for its enduring power and presence in the awards conversation was due to Coogler’s work.
“He’s a filmmaker who had a vision,” Feige said. “Who wanted to make a film that could play around the world, but could also ask and attempt to answer questions he had on a deeply personal level.”
Listen to Feige’s entire interview on The Awardist above.