Melanin Monday: Black Folks Killin’ It in the Oscars

Hey Hey Heroes, Travelers, and NPCs, out there it’s Monday, and that means another Melanin Monday post!! I know its been awhile since my last Melanin Monday post (I’ve been slacking off), but, for those of you just joining the party, here’s a little refresher. Melanin Monday is a bi-weekly post series that I started for Black History Month, where I talk about Black and Brown skinned characters in anime, manga, video games, etc., but you guys loved it so much I decided to continue it!

So, in this week’s Melanin Monday post, I wanted to talk about the Oscars… Yeah, I know, I’m not the only one talking about the Oscars, everybody is talking about the Oscars right now. But, after not one but two Black-led superhero films managed to not only snag quite a few Oscar nominations, but, also WIN awards… well, let’s just say that is grounds for celebration. But, that wasn’t all, the 2019 Oscars was a triumph for women and people of color as well, with films like Roma and BlackKklansman snagging quite a few awards last night.

I’m not gonna lie, my Blerdy heart skipped a beat when both Black Panther and Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse were nominated for awards, but, like most I didn’t have hopes for either taking home anything, especially in light of 2016’s #boycottoscars campaign. It’s not uncommon for Black-led films to get snubbed at major award ceremonies, unless you’re Crash…or I dunno… The Green Book… but, we’re not gonna talk about those right now. Right now, let’s talk about last night’s Oscar victories: Black Panther and Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. 

I’ve written about Black Panther before, so I’ll keep my fangirling to a minimum, but, I love how one of the most unapologetically Black superhero films managed to get a Best Picture nomination! Bruh, can we talk about how Black Panther, the film no one expected to do well (it grossed over 1.3 billion FYI)… Black Panther, the film that folks said was going to throw a wrench in Marvel’s hot streak, that Black Panther, was nominated alongside The Green Book, A Star Is Born, Bohemian Rhapsody, and others for Best Picture. And despite not taking home the coveted Best Picture award, Black Panther did come away with awards for best costume design, production design, and original score. Those wins If that isn’t a win, I don’t know what is?! There was a lot of care put into making sure that the film was faithful to it’s African roots both in it’s design and it’s portrayal of the richly diverse cultures that exist within the continent. Costume designer Ruth E. Carter made sure to preserve the unique feel of the film while also remaining faithful to Africa’s diverse history and culture in each and every one of her designs.  So, by awarding the film awards in both Costume Design and Production Design, the Academy is by extension glorifying and celebrating Black folks and our African roots.

Then Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse came along and beat out Incredibles 2, Mirai, Isle of Dogs, and Ralph Breaks the Internet to win Best Animated Feature! This is a category that has been largely dominated by Disney and Pixar films, and still Into the Spider-Verse swooped in and stole the show! Arguably one of the best Spider-Man films to date, Miles Morales’s debut on the big screen had some big shoes to fill having to contend with not only the Sam Raimi film trilogy and the Marc Webb Amazing Spider-man reboot series, but, the newly introduced Tom Holland led Spider-Man franchise, which has been applauded by by both critics and audiences.

I remember having high hopes for the film when it was announced and Spider-Verse more than exceeded my expectations, delivering a film with just as much action as it had heart, with it’s dynamic cast and phenomenal storytelling, this was Spider-Man done right.

It was just an all around great film that more than earned last night’s Oscar win and you know what, this victory paves the way for more films like it in the future. Let’s shake up the status quo a bit, like Black Panther before it, Spider-Verse proves that there is a market for Black-led films, especially where our superheroes are concerned.

final thoughts 2

2018 was a phenomenal year for us melanated folks, we kicked off the year with Marvel’s Black Panther in February and ended it with Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse in December. Both films garnering praise from both critics and audiences alike despite doubts that Black-led films could amass the same acclaim as their white counterparts. Well, after last night’s Oscars there should be no doubt in anyone’s mind that Black-led films were killing it last year! Both films took home Oscars in a number of categories and I am over the moon! But, this isn’t the end of the road, this is only the beginning and I sincerely hope that we see more Black-led films shaking up these award ceremonies in the future.

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