The countdown to Oscar nominations on Tuesday morning is more of a nail-biter than ever.
There are many dramas-within-dramas, including which actors and actresses will be cut off from the top 5 in every category. The Oscar-nosticators are busy all weekend trying to divine who will be in and who will be out.
But the biggest drama is about “Black Panther.” The Academy and ABC TV are counting on Ryan Coogler’s $700 million epic making the finals for Best Picture. If it doesn’t, there will be huge headaches.
“Black Panther” is the one movie everyone who loves movies saw last year. It’s also considered a watershed moment for comic book movies, and for films featuring African Americans. If it’s in the running, fans may very well tune in to see its cast featured and maybe some below-the-line wins.
But if “Black Panther” somehow doesn’t make the cut, there will be terror in all conference calls and group emails about the February 24th show. Right now, “Black Panther” is the key to survival in the ratings. The word is that the show’s producers are trying to round up a huge group of Marvel universe actors including the ones from “BP.” That would be a ratings draw.
So far the good money on Best Picture includes “Roma,” “Green Book,” “A Star is Born,” “The Favourite,” and “Vice.” But then what? “Blackkklansman” is definite. “If Beale Street Could Talk” looks good. That’s seven. Only two more than statistically fit. “Black Panther” would have to be 8, with “Bohemian Rhapsody” or “Mary Poppins Returns” as 9th. “Can You Ever Forgive Me?” lingers at 10.
Let’s say some prayers then for “Black Panther” and hope when Kumail Nanjiani and Tracee Ellis Ross read the list next Tuesday morning, it’s in alphabetical order. Otherwise, we’ll be hearing from the folks in Wakanda.