Chadwick Boseman was just as surprised as anyone when the smash commercial and critical success of “Black Panther” turned into serious Oscar buzz months after its release. “You don’t make a movie that comes out in February,” he said, “and automatically think about awards.”

No, you don’t. Since “The Silence of the Lambs” won the Best Picture Oscar after being released on Valentine’s Day 1991, only one other February release has even been nominated for the top award: “Get Out,” which turned the trick last year. And no comic-book movie or Marvel movie has done it in that time, either. But “Black Panther,” directed by Ryan Coogler, in short order became a critical favorite, a smash hit, a cultural landmark and, yes, a genuine awards contender.

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