The Oscar nominations are read in Los Angeles at just after 5 in the morning, a time when most late-to-wake Hollywood types would rather be slumbering underneath high-thread-count sheets. Still, the Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige wasn’t about to miss the televised announcement.
“I watched them this morning for the first time in many years,” Feige told your Carpetbagger today by phone. “I set my alarm, and I haven’t done that since I was a film nerd in college.”
His interest was well-rewarded: “Black Panther” became the first Marvel film to score a nomination for best picture, and the phenomenally successful superhero film picked up six more nominations to boot. “I’m feeing a sense of pride and humility and immense gratitude,” Feige said.
[Read more about the nominations | Check out the full list of nominees | See the snubs and surprises.]
And though the academy failed to nominate Ryan Coogler for directing and co-writing the film, “you’re going to hear me say the name ‘Ryan Coogler’ constantly on this phone call,” Feige said, emphasizing the importance of inclusive and diverse filmmaking. “To me, the best thing a producer can do is find a person with something to say, who has a story to tell and can tell it in a way that the world responds to. That’s what Mr. Coogler has done for us.”
Feige is known for being one of Hollywood’s most even-keeled executives, so I asked if he found himself exclaiming aloud as any of the nominations were read. “It mainly manifested itself in numerous emojis,” Feige said. On a group chat that included Coogler, the executive producer Nate Moore and Disney chief executive Bob Iger, there were “a lot of firework- and confetti-laden text messages flying fast and furious.”
To composer Ludwig Goransson, whose “Black Panther” score was nominated, Feige texted a video Coogler had taped two years ago when the two men decided on the theme music, “where Ryan recorded himself dancing around with this unbelievable joy.” Feige was just as eager to text the production designer Hannah Beachler, who became the first African-American to be nominated in her category.
“She was hired in the room,” Feige said. “I knew she’d never worked on a film this large before and had concerns about that, but we wanted to give her a chance to come in and pitch her vision for the movie. She came in and blew us away instantly. Journeys don’t get better than that.”
But even with all the congratulations — and an additional visual-effects nomination for the studio’s “Avengers: Infinity War” — Feige had to get back to work. Marvel has plenty on its plate this spring, including the release of “Captain Marvel” and “Avengers: Endgame,” and a day off to celebrate just wouldn’t do.
Still, he said, “there’s enthusiasm in the hallways, that’s for sure.”