Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther is already one of the most loved films of the year, and it reflects in the film’s billion-dollar box office. Many were skeptical about the film’s influence over the awards season. Many thought the film had released too early in the year (it released in February, 2018). But the film won Best Ensemble Cast won at the SAG Awards and shut everyone up. Except Chadwick Boseman, who delivered the acceptance speech.
Coogler’s film was a bunch of firsts – where it was the first superhero film to be commissioned with a (nearly) entirely black cast. It was the first all-black cast to get a budget in excess of $100 million dollars. Black Panther went on to become the first film featuring an all-black cast to gross more than a billion dollars. Kendrick Lamar’s soundtrack and Coogler’s direction were hugely praised.
And that’s why when leading man, Chadwick Boseman, walked on to the stage with the rest of the cast, including his brothers-in-arms Michael B Jordan, there was too much to say and too many people to thank. And it’s understandable why he chose to instead focus on a ‘young, gifted and Black’ individual’s struggles in Hollywood. Something that everyone on stage with Boseman knew all too well, and had heard during many auditions.
Where a film wouldn’t get made because it wasn’t ‘universal enough’ or a part wouldn’t be written for actors with African-American heritage… unless it had something to do with the ‘hood. However, with Jordan Peele’s biting satire in Get Out and Kevin Feige’s unwavering belief in the concept of an African superhero in Hollywood, has opened the gates for many non-white actors.
It’s understandable why the cast would momentarily rip on the Caucasian member of the cast, Andy Serkis, who celebrated it as much. Serkis and Martin Freeman were the only two white members of the cast in Black Panther. Where Freeman is even referred to as a ‘coloniser’ at one point!