Despite strong critical acclaim and being one of the highest-grossing movies of 2022, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever extended the MCU’s worst Oscars record. Now in Phase 5, the MCU has had no shortage of Academy Award nominations since its start with Iron Man in 2008, and Black Panther 2 was nominated in myriad categories including Best Supporting Actress, Best Costume Design, and Best Visual Effects. Recognizing the movie’s performances, costumes, and visual beauty didn’t guarantee that it would win, however, and just like Oscars 2022 with Spider-Man: No Way Home and Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, it continued a distinctly glum streak for the MCU.


The MCU is full of successful films, but Black Panther stood out by being nominated in seven categories, and it had the distinction of being the very first MCU film to actually win some Academy Awards. While most superhero movies don’t win Oscars despite being nominated many times, some could occasionally be acknowledged for their contributions to cinema beyond Best Visual Effects, such as Black Panther proved with wins for Best Original Score, Best Costume Design, and Best Production Design. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever carried the legacy of its predecessor into Oscars 2023 with a nomination for Best Supporting Actress, Best Costume Design, and Best Visual Effects.

RELATED: No Way Home & Shang-Chi Continued The MCU’s Worst Oscars Record

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever Lost Best Visual Effects

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Unfortunately, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever lost the Oscar for Best Visual Effects to Avatar: The Way Of Water, a similarly impressive blockbuster that featured incredibly striking world-building. Both movies were dependent on utilizing the specificity of visual storytelling to communicate their messages of altruism and liberty for a threatened nation (human or alien, respectively), but James Cameron’s Best Picture nominee was deemed superior in the way it communicated them. With both films bursting with color, vibrancy, and carefully crafted CGI, it was going to be a tight race either way.

Avatar: The Way of Water had already been receiving praise for its visuals, with fans and critics alike commending it for surpassing Cameron’s original Avatar. Considering the game-changing methods Cameron used to tell his story, often pioneering technology that previously didn’t exist until it was created to bring the world of Avatar to life, its win is not surprising. Beyond that, Black Panther had also been nominated for Best Visual Effects already, perhaps making its sequel win seem superfluous.

MCU Movies Have A Poor Track Record Winning The Best Visual Effects Oscars

shuri and namor in talokan in black panther wakanda forever

It took a long time for Marvel to secure an acting Oscar nomination like the one Angela Bassett did for her fierce portrayal of Queen Ramonda, but it’s even more surprising that MCU movies have such a poor track record for taking home the gold for Best Visual Effects. To this day, despite utilizing impressive technology and contributing to some of the most incredibly kaleidoscopic cinematic experiences in recent years, no movie in the MCU has won an Academy Award for Best Visual Effects, and now Black Panther: Wakanda Forever can be added to that list by failing to secure a win for that particular award.

Visual effects are used to enhance a story and uplift a film within its medium but are so often reduced to exercises in developing the best CGI. The movies within the MCU have gotten a bad rap for placing their effects above their story, sacrificing substance for the sake of style, but Black Panther: Wakanda Forever was a carefully crafted amalgamation of both elements. With its visual effects, it continued the trend of Black Panther being a standout in the MCU, and celebrated the very thing that makes cinema so unique from other forms of entertainment.

MORE: Why Everything Everywhere All At Once Won Best Picture At Oscars 2023

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