Boseman urges Oscar voters to not put ‘Black Panther’ in popular film category

As the Motion Picture Academy prepares to introduce a new “popular film” category next year at the 91st Academy Awards, many question what that means for films like Black Panther that was both popular and critically acclaimed.

Chadwick Boseman, the star of the blockbuster movie, has earned his stripes and is especially concerned because he’s put in the work and wants the prestige that comes with an honor, like winning an Oscar for Best Picture.

“We don’t know what it [the new prize] is, so I don’t know whether to be happy about it or not,” Boseman told The Hollywood Reporter‘s ‘Awards Chatter’ podcast in an episode that went live on Wednesday.

“What I can say is that there’s no campaign [that we are mounting] for popular film; like, if there’s a campaign, it’s for best picture, and that’s all there is to it.”

Campaigning for your film is part of the Oscar culture. So Black Panther execs have hired on Cynthia Swartz from Strategy PR to its approach since they want the big win, and that’s Best Picture.

And rightfully so since Black Panther broke all kinds of records, becoming the year’s highest-grossing movie domestically and second-highest-grossing internationally so far.

While the Academy hasn’t yet outlined what a popular film would entail, Boseman hopes it doesn’t deter members from nominating a popular film like Black Panther for Best Picture.

Boseman wants voters to know the cast and crew created something special.

“What we did was very difficult. We created a world, we created a culture … we had to create a religion, a spirituality, a politics; we had to create an accent; we had to pull from different cultures to create clothing styles and hair styles. It’s very much like a period piece. … So, as far as that’s concerned, I dare any movie to try to compare to the [level of] difficulty of this one. And the fact that so many people liked it — if you just say it’s [merely] popular, that’s elitist.”