Yesterday I thought I’d watch the Smash Direct and finish my post of Refn’s streaming service and that while that was happening no interesting film news would happen. Guess I was wrong… so as you’re all aware the Oscars have decided that it’s making a few minor changes. Best Popular Film Category? Oscars, you’ve got some ‘splaining to do! I thought I’d do a short hot take on this category but do want to keep it pretty short as I’m sure everyone on the planet is also telling you their opinion on the topic. Here we go!
To me the Oscars always represented the equivalent of film literature, a work that is an achievement and significant. Harry Potter doesn’t win the Pulitzer Prize, doesn’t mean it’s a bad book it’s just nowhere near the criteria of what that award looks for. Superhero movies never get nominated, what an outrage! You want to see a Marvel movie win a bunch of awards, then watch the MTV Movie Awards they’ll win everything. I do complain that The Shape of Water isn’t nominated at the MTV Movie Awards because it celebrates pop culture “movies” and the Oscars they celebrate “films”.
While I think the “Best Popular Film” sounds like an article from The Onion, It seems like a win-win for mostly everyone. The Oscars ratings are down, easiest solution is to add more recognizable names. The Darkest Hour? The Post? Not names you expect to draw a crowd, especially compared to the Wonder Woman, Black Panther, Deadpool and other films that the people have been asking to get recognition. Hey, if more casual people will watch the Oscars to see if this movie wins and get curious about this fish monster movie, then that’s a good thing. If we can award fan favorite movies without subtracting from the “films” that deserve and need the acknowledgement the Oscars give them then that’s a good thing.
The only small losing party in all of this is the awards that get delegated to commercial breaks. I think it’s a shame that every department deserves its little nod in that moment but let’s be real for a second, the vast majority of viewers watching don’t know the difference between sound editing and sound mixing. Heck, if you see the way the academy nominates those two categories I don’t think they completely understand the difference between those two. They’re not taking the award away, it’s not like they’re not handing it out still you’re just being called out as a daytime Emmy and that sucks, but I think it’s understandable.
To the traditionalists, you win the academy stands by you saying we stand by awarding the best picture to the films that achieve the best the craft has to offer and won’t be persuaded by superficial buzz and a thousand twitter fingers. To the movie-goers and the fans of box-office hits you win, the academy is telling you that there is something to resonating with the masses and we should honor that achievement.
The last point I’d like to make is people saying that they don’t like the logistics of it, “how are we to pick what is a “popular” movie”. I was thinking that too, and then it hit me. That is literally the dumbest argument you could make. How do we decide what a “popular” movie is? The same way we pick which movies are the “best”. All these awards are subjective, it’s not like they have or need an algorithm to determine how to decide these awards. The Oscars don’t even have a set number of films that can be nominated for Best Picture some years it’s 7 another 9 there’s little need for a rhyme or reason explanation. When you see an actress win an oscar do you really go “Wow! Her technique was flawless”? How about best director, do you really know what amount of effort went into or do we just get a sense that this film “had their fingerprints all over it” because that’s a tangible measurement. How are we going to know what deems a movie popular… figure it out.
That’s all thanks for stopping by, please leave your opinion on Best Popular film category and what you think the Oscars should do? Y’all have a lovely day, and I’ll see you at the movies.
Main Image (Photo Credit: ABC image)