Home Entertainment The Oscars adds new “popular film” category but not everybody is happy about it

The Oscars adds new “popular film” category but not everybody is happy about it

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The Oscars is far and wide considered to be the very pinnacle when it comes to rewarding quality in filmmaking. It’s also considered far and wide to be an elitist, artsy-fartsy circle-jerk. Whereas awards shows like the MTV Movie Awards hand out prizes for those films that are a big hit with the general public, the Oscars focuses purely on technical craft: popularity and box office numbers be damned. But that’s apparently now changing.

Announced on Wednesday afternoon, the 2019 Oscars will include a brand new category for Outstanding Achievement in Popular Film which seems to be a way for the film body – who traditionally have been criticised for ignoring popular genre films in favour of stuffy dramas – to reconnect more with the masses. This means that movies like Marvel’s Black Panther will actually now be up for more than just the technical awards.

In fact, it would definitely not be too much of a leap to think that it was, in fact, Black Panther, a big and colourful superhero blockbuster that became a cultural phenomenon with its celebration of Afro-futurism, which directly prompted the creation of this new category as there would certainly have been a public outcry if it was left off the list of nominations next year.

The Oscars will also be changing the date and time of the broadcast to have wider appeal to a TV audience that has been rapidly dwindling year on year, but it’s really this new category that is the big deal here. And some people are not happy about it.

The “people” I’m referring to here are not the same people the Oscars are trying to placate with this change but actually actors and filmmakers in Hollywood for whom that famous golden statue was the ultimate achievement. In a tweet, veteran actor Rob Lowe stated that “The film business passed away today with the announcement of the ‘popular’ film Oscar. It had been in poor health for a number of years. It is survived by sequels, tent-poles, and vertical integration.” Actor/director Andy Richter had probably the most poignant response when he tweeted that “Finally the Oscars will be giving a statue based on popularity so that those poor mountains of box office money won’t be lonely anymore”.

Of course, a quick glance at social media as a whole shows that overall most non-film industry folk are appreciative of the new category, as it’s a sign that the Oscars are at least aware of their image problem and looking to change it. Personally, I’m not sold, not unless we see a film being recognized in both the Popular category as well as the traditional ones like Best Picture, because otherwise this is nothing more than a fool’s gold consolation prize.

Last Updated: August 10, 2018

19 Comments

  1. In other news, Wimbledon announces that players can wear any colours they want, Britain declares War on Wimbledon…

    Reply

  2. SagatatiaRZA

    August 10, 2018 at 10:51

    “Finally the Oscars will be giving a statue based on popularity so that those poor mountains of box office money won’t be lonely anymore”. This is on point though.

    Reply

  3. Skittle

    August 10, 2018 at 10:58

    The Oscars and other entertainment award shows have become platforms for actors to shove their political opinions in everybody faces. Snore

    Reply

    • HvR

      August 10, 2018 at 11:56

      Jip.

      Claiming that the movies that have won the top awards the last 10 years were “the pinnacle of movie making” is the biggest load of BS ever.

      It is so fooking obvious that winners are chosen best representing the biggest social issue of the time.

      Reply

    • HvR

      August 10, 2018 at 11:56

      Jip.

      Claiming that the movies that have won the top awards the last 10 years were “the pinnacle of movie making” is the biggest load of BS ever.

      It is so fooking obvious that winners are chosen best representing the biggest social issue of the time.

      Reply

  4. RinceThis

    August 10, 2018 at 11:04

    I don’t even watch the Oscars anymore. That said, if something/someone wins an Oscar it does carry a lot of weight.

    Reply

    • Social Justice Jim Bot v 1.5

      August 10, 2018 at 13:07

      Sure, and I suppose it is an achievement. You’re being recognised by your peers…. but the politics behind who gets awarded one, and who doesn’t has ruined it for me.

      Reply

  5. Alien Emperor Trevor

    August 10, 2018 at 11:04

    I just find it funny how people automatically revert to “it’s popular, therefore it’s diminishing the craft”. Seems a bit pretentious. Does your best actor win mean less because this category exists? No. I don’t see any harm in them rewarding a movie that resonated with audiences while also rewarding their “pure” movies.

    Reply

    • Darren Peach

      August 10, 2018 at 12:53

      I agree, after watching Infinity War, one has to wonder how a film like that can be released and not be celebrated in some way.

      Reply

  6. Sandelk

    August 10, 2018 at 11:25

    While there is definitely a talent to making a “popular” movie. I would rather the academy put together an award for Best Action or Best Comedy to honour true talent in these individual aspects of film-making than shoe-horn them into a category that is too open and ambiguous

    Reply

    • Sandelk

      August 10, 2018 at 11:26

      It also creates the conundrum where again it’s up to the academy to choose the winner. An academy that tends to side with more dramatic and artsy fare than necessarily what brings audiences into the cinema – so how exactly can we trust them to be able to determine this category? Shouldn’t this be a category that is voted by the public then?

      Reply

  7. Magoo

    August 10, 2018 at 11:37

    Oscars? Did you mean: The Roast of Donald Trump?

    Reply

  8. Gr8_Balls_o_Fire

    August 10, 2018 at 12:04

    Whenever I see “Oscar Nominated or Oscar Winner”, I know it’s a boring movie so I steer away from it.

    Maybe this new category was made for dimwits like me.

    Reply

  9. The Big Bad Wolf

    August 10, 2018 at 13:10

    This is a plaster on a missing limb. Many of the Oscar movies during the 1960s through to the early 80s were usually box office darlings. To me, this is the admission that nobody actually watches these movies.

    Reply

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