The Oscars: The Academy Introduces a New Category for Popular Films
And the award for the biggest joke of the year goes to… *drum roll* The Academy Awards! On Monday night, The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced that they would be making changes to the Oscars. The Academy announced that they would reveal winners in smaller categories during commercial breaks. They will edit the winner’s speech and show it later in the broadcast.
The most controversial change is the introduction of a new award category titled “outstanding achievement in popular film”. The Academy did not elaborate on the requirements for nomination. As stated in the letter to Academy members, “eligibility requirements and other key details will be forthcoming.”
The Oscars are not what they once were. The 2017 Oscar ceremony was the lowest rated in the history of the broadcast. It has faced loads of backlash from the Academy’s lack of diversity when it comes to the films nominated which at best has slightly (but not significantly) improved. With the introduction of this new Popular Movie category, you’d think that film buffs would be happy about this right? Wrong.
The problem here is this. The Academy already has the Best Picture category. Including past winners that are blockbuster films like Titanic and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. The award has also honored lesser-known films like Spotlight and The Shape of Water.
The Oscars Treatment of Blockbuster Films
The Oscars have had a long history of passing over blockbuster films such as superhero movies and animated films, only putting those movies in the technical categories and not the categories with high honors like Best Picture. The Dark Knight is an example of a blockbuster hit robbed of a Best Picture nomination which led to the Academy increasing the number of nominees in the Best Picture category from five to ten. In the 90 years of the Academy Awards, only three animated films have received nominations for Best Picture: Beauty & the Beast, Up, and Toy Story 3. Wall-E, Inside Out, and Coco have been critically acclaimed but were passed over for Best Picture.
The introduction to the “Best Popular Movie” category is a slap in the face to movie lovers everywhere. It’s an excuse for the Academy to throw highly-acclaimed box office hits into a category that Academy voters know would never get a Best Picture nomination *cough Black Panther cough*.
Supposedly, The Oscars a ceremony to honor all aspects of the film industry. Honoring only some defeats the purpose of a once great award show.