Kevin Feige on the Possibility of 'Black Panther' Winning Best Picture (Exclusive)

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Photo by Emma McIntyre/BAFTA LA/Getty Images

Kevin Feige is the head of a studio that has created a sprawling, much-envied franchise of more than 20 interconnected films, the often imitated but never duplicated benchmark for cinematic universes. His films have broken box office record after box office record; his heroes have saved New York, saved Earth and saved the galaxy at large, numerous times. But when it comes to the Oscars? "It's overwhelming," he admits with a chuckle.

Marvel Studios' super-producer is in the middle of a global press tour for the upcoming Captain Marvel, but on Sunday, he will squeeze in a trip to the Academy Awards, where Black Panther could make history as the first superhero movie to win Best Picture. ET sat down with Feige on Friday and, while I'll have plenty more on Captain Marvel and the future of the MCU in due time, for now, here's our brief chat about the Oscars and the best part about Black Panther being nominated.

ET: How are you feeling heading into Sunday?

It's overwhelming and it hasn't quite landed. I saw Ruth Carter, our nominated costume designer, yesterday at another event, and she said that she's just now starting to get butterflies. And she's been doing an amazing job and doing all sorts of events leading up to this. But it just seems like a dream. Until now. People are like, "No, it's not a dream. It's Sunday afternoon." So, it's pretty incredible.

Obviously, Black Panther is a special movie, but this historic nomination -- the first superhero movie nominated for Best Picture -- does it feel like it's cracked open the door where now you're eager to--

Get more? [Laughs]

To keep making your presence know with the Academy?

I think that would be great, but I think we're going to continue to do what we've done, which is make the best movies we can, make the movies we believe in, make them how we believe in making them, and if people respond to them, that'll be great. It's really been an honor interacting with a lot of the Academy members in ways we haven't before and attending some of the events leading up to Sunday. That's been really wonderful. And people seeing the film in various screenings that we did leading up to this season and talking to people who hadn't seen Black Panther in a theater, [Academy] members who hadn't seen it, it's been nice being able to get people into a type of movie maybe they would casually dismiss in the past. Hopefully [now] that they've seen it, they'll continue to see others.

Black Panther has long been my pick for which film should win Best Picture--

Wow.

I mean that very sincerely. I think art is always subjective, so how do we pick a best picture? Well, Black Panther was critically adored, the fans loved it, it made a gajillion dollars -- I think that's the official number -- and sparked a cultural movement. For me, when we look back on 2018, of all those nominees, it is the most emblematic of the state of cinema in that year. And I think that's the film we should reward.

It's great. You look back at films that were nominated or films that won or films that weren't nominated, but what's remembered years [later]? And it doesn't always match up, and it's fun when it does. I think there are so many great nominees this year. How many are there? There are eight Best Picture nominees?

Yes.

All of them could win. It also does seem like any of them could! I think, going into Sunday, who knows what it's going to be. There's kind of an excitement in that, as well. There are some categories where there are front runners, but for the most part, it seems like when those envelopes open, who knows what names are going to be read.

Have you been able to have some moments with Ryan throughout this award season?

Yes, and we're going to see him later today. He's such a smart, intelligent, humble man. He's most excited, as we all are, for Hannah [Beachler] and for Ruth and for Ludwig [Göransson], for our sound designers and sound mixers. That's who he comes out to support.

Two quick questions: Should you come home with some Oscars on Sunday, where are they going? To the office?

I'm not even thinking-- In a million years, I'm not thinking about that. [Laughs]

Easier question, then: Are we wearing a Marvel hat with the tux on Sunday?

No, no, no. No, it's a very classy event.

But you have to keep it Kevin Feige!

It'll be full bald head.

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