A lot of brands like to share topic tweets for special occasions, such as Academy Awards night. One such Twitter account did that Sunday night for the Oscars: None other than the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA.)
Early on during Oscar night, the CIA’s verified Twitter account sent out a series of tweets about the science of the Oscar-nominated film Black Panther, and specifically about the technology featured in that movie and how the CIA and other intelligence agencies might use them in real life.
#Oscars we’ll ask a series of poll questions to get your views on the feasibility of Wakandan technology today & share the expertise of a top CIA scientist, “Rebecca,” on how #Wakanda‘s tech matches up w/emerging “real life” tech,” the first tweet said.
Subsequent tweets asked poll questions about whether vibranium, the mineral from the film, was real, and about which fictitious technologies from the film might be worthwhile to real-life spies. The runaway winner, according to the CIA’s followers, was “virtual cars.”
The CIA had a part in Black Panther, in the person of CIA agent character Everett Ross, played in the film by actor Martin Freeman. The Ross character was presented sympathetically and as an ally of the film’s heroes.
However, there was some backlash, both from the CIA’s involvement in that movie, and its Oscar-night Twitter campaign, with many tweets noting the CIA’s long history of toppling governments in Africa, where the fictional Wakanda is located.
On Sunday, 2 black women — Hannah Beachler and Ruth E. Carter — became the first black women since 1984 to win an Oscar in a nonacting category. They both won for their work on "Black Panther." https://t.co/3vXnHvulpJ
— The New York Times (@nytimes) February 25, 2019
“We at the CIA want you to know that we’re not only fictional heroes in films like Black Panther but star in real-life imperialist adventures as well,” political writer Jeet Heer said on Twitter, in making fun of the agency’s tweets.
“You might remember us from the assassination of Patrice Lumumba and the arrest of Nelson Mandela.”
“The CIA wants you to remember that Black Panther is a work of fiction, something we already knew from the fact that it has a CIA agent as a good guy,” Twitter user CrookedRoads770 added.
On the Academy Awards Sunday night, Black Panther won three awards, with Ruth E. Carter winning the Oscar for Best Costume Design, and Hannah Beachler and Jay Hart notching a win for Best Production Design. Later in the evening, Ludvig Goransson won for Best Original Score for his work on the film. Black Panther was nominated for a total of seven Academy Awards, including for Best Picture.