C'mon, let's all root for Black Panther as Best Picture
The Dark Knight (and maybe even to a lesser extent Star Wars or Harry Potter) did not fall short of Best Pictures past in vain. In 2018, the world finally got a superhero that seemingly elevated an increasingly familiar genre. Black Panther widened pop culture's vision of a superhero and a superhero world, it spoke to present day philosophical struggles (walls and nationalism, technology as savior, etc.) like movies with far fewer powers and capes, and it solved some of the genre's more lackluster tropes (lack of a role for women, a one-note and unsympathetic villain, etc.). If you didn't work directly on another nominee, the Best Picture candidate to root for seems clear. "In a year where the world lost Marvel Comics pioneers Steve Ditko and Stan Lee, it also gained something remarkable: a superhero film that answered years of shouts about taking risks, exploring new characters, and giving more kids in the world an otherworldly universe that speaks their language," Machkovech wrote when naming Ars' top film of 2018. "Avengers: Infinity War landed at the bottom of my personal list because it shrugged its shoulders at the true meanings of love and hope. Black Panther is at the top of my list because it took a much bolder and well-rounded look at those two painful, imperfect concepts."