The Oscar Case For “Black Panther”
Black History Month 2019 has been the spiciest dumpster fire of our lifetime–a cold, saltless, sadness-flavored McDonald’s fry withering away in a Walmart parking lot–no, seriously, it’s been Shemar Moore’s raggedy cornrow wiglet from “Diary of a Mad Black Woman” in February form.
But, um, at least we can watch “Black Panther” defy the odds and pry Best Picture from the Academy’s crusty white hands. And yes, there’s a chance–a very small, balled up lunch lady ponytail of a chance–that Marvel’s biggest (and Blackity Blackest) blockbuster will win and I’ve laid out my compelling case below.
1. M’Baku’s LEGENDARY Challenge Day speech
Winston Duke’s spectacular monologue isn’t “I Have A Dream” but it’s close. CHALLENGE DEY. FADDA SEFE. WE WILL NOT AVE IT, O. GLORY TO HANUMAN. So. Many. Hits. And felt the greatest Que probate ever.
(Now, don’t get it twisted, Samuel L. Jackson is still the Monologue Gawd and President of the CAPS LOCK Coalition but our good mountain bruh M’Baku delivered the most quotable scene of 2018)
2. “Hey Auntie!”
I’ll never forget the theater swerving into chaos when Killmonger dropped “hey auntie!” It was just so deliciously Black–“light ice”-Black–and felt like Jenifer Lewis reaching deep into her purse and handing you dusty butterscotches in church. Ryan Coogler be knowin.
3. Funniest “what are thooose???” joke ever (many, many years later)
I’ve watched “Black Panther” 7978696987 times and laughed at Shuri’s “what are those???” joke all 7978696987 times (because I’m 12).
It’s that one Facebook joke from 2002 your mama texted you this week that actually made you laugh. So proudly corny yet fresh. Classic.
4. Forrest Whitaker’s Bleck Pentha Powah
Very few things were funnier in 2018 than Forrest Whitaker’s wonky-eyed Wakandan accent. The whole entire theater cackled at every ‘bleck’ and ‘pentha’. All chill was streept eweh and it’s STILL hilarious.
5. Pop Culture-Shaping Impact
“Black Panther” changed the world. Literally. From showing our people being amazing, to adding ‘colonizer’ to our vocabulary to weaponizing a wig to making the sciences appealing to young Black kids across the world. It was truly a world-stopping moment and the best film I saw in 2018.