'Black Panther' director Ryan Coogler declined Oscars membership in 2016 because he doesn't 'buy into' awards

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Ryan Coogler
Ryan Coogler. Arthur Mola/Invision/AP
  • Ryan Coogler turned down membership in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in 2016.

  • The director said he doesn't agree with adding competitive awards to the filmmaking process.

  • "If I'm going to be a part of organizations, they're going to be labor unions," the director said.

  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

Ryan Coogler told The Hollywood Reporter that he turned down a membership invitation from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences - the voting body responsible for the Oscars - in 2016 because he doesn't agree with applying competitive awards to filmmaking.

Each year, current members of the Academy invite new actors, directors, and filmmakers to join the exclusive body. The same year that Coogler declined, Michael B. Jordan, Idris Elba, and Regina King were all inducted.

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"I don't buy into this versus that, or 'this movie wasn't good enough to make this list,'" Coogler said. "I love movies. For me, that's good enough. If I'm going to be a part of organizations, they're going to be labor unions, where we're figuring out how to take care of each other's families and health insurance. But I know that these things bring exposure."

Coogler, 34, is best known as the writer and director of Marvel's recording-breaking hit "Black Panther." This year, the director is nominated for an Oscar, but as a producer on "Judas and the Black Messiah," which is nominated for best picture. Coogler is listed as a producer alongside the film's director, Shaka King, and film industry veteran, Charles King. This is the first-time an all-Black producing team has been nominated for an Oscar.

"Judas and the Black Messiah" has six nominations overall, including nods for both Daniel Kaluuya and LaKeith Stanfield in the best supporting actor category.

Black Panther Ryan Coogler Disney
Ryan Coogler on the set of "Black Panther." Disney

Coogler also told THR that he is currently working on the sequel to "Black Panther," which he said he started writing just as the news broke that Chadwick Boseman, who starred as the beloved comic book character, had died of colon cancer. Coogler said he was not aware of Boseman's illness.

"I didn't know what was going on," Coogler said. "I knew what he wanted me to know. I miss him in every way that you could miss somebody, as a friend, as a collaborator. And it sucks because I love watching movies, and I don't get to watch the next thing he would have made. So it's grief on a lot of levels, but then, it's a deep sense of gratitude because I can close my eyes and hear his voice."

Coogler continued to say "it's difficult" to proceed with the sequel without Boseman but it's important to "keep going when you lose loved ones."

"I know Chad wouldn't have wanted us to stop," he said.

"Black Panther 2" is currently set to begin production in July and is slated for a 2022 release.

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