23 Jan 2019

'Black Panther' leads films in Oscars best picture pack

6:26 am on 23 January 2019

Marvel Studios film Black Panther has created Oscars history, landing the first best picture nomination for a superhero movie, as crowd-pleasing blockbusters muscled into a contest recently dominated by art-house fare.

Black Panther screengrab.

Black Panther is up for best picture at this year's Oscars awards. Photo: AFP

Other box-office hits among the eight nominees for the movie industry's top prize included musical remake A Star is Born and rock biopic Bohemian Rhapsody.

The inclusion of popular films contrasted with the past few years when the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences favoured independent dramas with small audiences and snubbed commercial successes such as Wonder Woman.

Read the full Oscar nomination list here

The academy attempted to address the issue in August by proposing a new popular film category. But the idea was quickly scrapped after criticism that it would create a two-tier system of popular and less mainstream films.

The nominations showed popular films had broken into the best picture race. The field reflected "the perfect intersection of art and commerce," said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at measurement firm Comscore.

"The academy is clearly honouring blockbuster films this year," he said, "and is acknowledging their contributions to the art of filmmaking and thus recognizing the level of talent involved."

Films with the most nominations:

  • 10 - The Favourite, Roma
  • 8 - A Star Is Born, Vice
  • 7 - Black Panther
  • 6 - BlacKkKlansman
  • 5 - Bohemian Rhapsody, Green Book
  • 4 - First Man, Mary Poppins Returns

Having widely seen films in the running could help boost ratings for the Oscars telecast. The audience for last year's show dropped to an all-time low, and critics said a crop of little-seen nominees likely were a factor.

A Star is Born, a Hollywood classic remake, features Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper and has received positive reviews on the global stage.

A Star is Born is also up for best picture. Photo: AFP / WARNER BROS / COLLECTION CHRISTOPHEL

Black Panther was 2018's top-grossing movie in the United States and Canada, and second-highest worldwide, with $US1.3 billion in ticket sales. Released by Disney-owned Marvel, it was the first superhero film to feature a predominantly black cast.

The movie was hailed for bringing African pride and beauty to a big-screen adventure. It received seven nominations in total.

Rivals include 21st Century Fox's Bohemian Rhapsody about late Queen singer Freddie Mercury, which has rung up $798 million at global box offices. A Star is Born from AT&T Inc's Warner Bros, also a contender, has grossed $US409 million.

The nominees also include Fox's British period comedy The Favourite, which has grossed $43 million, and political satire Vice with $39.5 million.

Nominees typically see a boost in tickets sales after the Oscar nominations are announced.

It is unknown how many people have seen another best picture nominee, Netflix Inc's Spanish-language drama Roma. Netflix has not released ticket sales data from theatres or disclosed how many people have watched Roma on the streaming service.

- Reuters / BBC

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