“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” leads limited pack of Black Oscar nominations

By Carla Hay

NABJ Black News & Views

Marvel Studios’ superhero blockbuster “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” led the way Tuesday as the movie with the most Oscar nominations for Black people in the 95th Academy Awards. Nominations were announced Tuesday morning for the Oscars, which will be presented at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles on March 12. 

Only eight Black people—including Angela Bassett and Rihanna—were nominated for Oscars this year, and seven of the nominated Black people are tied to “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” which is nominated in five categories. Brian Tyree Henry of Apple Studios/A24’s drama “Causeway” is nominated for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role. He is the only Black person nominated for an Oscar this year who isn’t connected to “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.”

Riz Ahmed, left, and Allison Williams announce the Academy Awards nominations for best costume design at the 95th Academy Awards nomination ceremony on Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2023, at the Academy Museum in Los Angeles. The 95th annual Academy Awards will take place on Sunday, March 12, 2023, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. Photo credit: Jae C. Hong, The Associated Press
Riz Ahmed, left, and Allison Williams announce the Academy Awards nominations for best costume design at the 95th Academy Awards nomination ceremony on Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2023, at the Academy Museum in Los Angeles. The 95th annual Academy Awards will take place on Sunday, March 12, 2023, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. Photo credit: Jae C. Hong, The Associated Press

ABC will broadcast the U.S. telecast of the show, which will be hosted by Jimmy Kimmel. 

Meanwhile, Black-oriented movies such as Columbia Pictures’ “The Woman King” and Orion Pictures’ “Till,” which have been recognized with nominations at other major award shows (especially for “The Woman King” star Viola Davis and “Till” star Danielle Deadwyler), were completely snubbed at the Oscars. There are also no Black nominees in major categories such as Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, and Best Actress.

Bassett, who portrays Queen Ramonda in “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” is nominated for the Oscar for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role. It’s a category she has been winning at other award shows, including the Golden Globe Awards and Critics Choice Awards. This is Bassett’s second Oscar nomination. She was previously nominated for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role, for portraying Tina Turner in 1993’s “What’s Love Got to Do With It.”

First-time Oscar nominee Rihanna, Tems, and “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” director Ryan Coogler received nods for co-writing “Lift Me Up,” nominated for Best Original Song. They share the nomination with white Swedish songwriter/composer Ludwig Göransson, who won an Oscar for composing the original score to 2018’s “Black Panther.” Göransson also wrote the original score for “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” but he didn’t get an Oscar nomination for it. Rihanna and Tems are first-time Oscar nominees while this is Coogler’s second Oscar nomination. As a producer, he was previously nominated for Best Picture for 2021’s “Judas and the Black Messiah.”

Ruth E. Carter received her fourth Oscar nomination for Best Costume Design, for “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.” In 2019, Carter made Oscar history by becoming the first Black winner in this category for her work on “Black Panther.” Her other Oscar nominations are for 1992’s “Malcolm X” and 1997’s “Amistad.”

Another Black nominee for “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” is Camille Friend, nominated for Best Makeup and Hairstyling. It’s her first Oscar nomination. She shares the nomination with Joel Harlow.

R. Christopher White is one of the few Black people in the history of the Academy Awards to be nominated for Best Visual Effects. He received his third Oscar nomination for “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” a nomination that he shares with his white co-workers Geoffrey Baumann, Craig Hammack, and Dan Sudick. White was previously nominated in this category for 2011’s “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” and 2012’s “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.”

“Causeway” co-star Henry is a first-time Oscar nominee, for his role as a car mechanic named James, who happens to have one leg. (Henry is not disabled in real life.) Henry first got awards buzz for his brief supporting role in 2018’s “If Beale Street Could Talk.”

A24’s genre-blending sci-fi/action film “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” which centers on a Chinese American family, received the most nominations (11) for the 2023 Academy Awards. A complete list of Oscar nominations can be found at the official Academy Awards website.

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