Is the Oscars' new Popular Film category stupid? | The Tylt
Is the Oscars' new Popular Film category stupid?
Screen Crush's Matt Singer argues that separately "popular films" means mega blockbusters won't get the opportunity to be nominated for the prestigious Best Picture category. He writes:
Getting people to watch the Oscars is important; that’s what keeps the show in business. And adding a Best Popular Film category does allow the opportunity to include more movies on the show and in the competition. But from an Oscar voter’s perspective, it also makes it easier to leave a “popular” movie out of Best Picture race. Now there’s a separate (inherently lesser) award for that kind of film. You don’t need to include The Fugitive in your Best Picture Ballot; instead, you can nominate it for Best Popular Film, and then vote for a smaller film in its place.
And other critics argue the change is desperate and pandering.
Some critics view the new "Popular Film" category as a slap in the face to blockbusters like "Black Panther" that are actually deserving of a nod for the top honor–Best Picture.
To the Academy, this is a good move to address the lack of popular films nominated in the Best Picture category, and for the awards to be more aligned with what people see in theaters. The Ringer's Miles Surrey explains the new Oscar changes. He writes:
The Outstanding Achievement in Popular Film is the Academy’s attempt to counteract this recurring issue: No matter what, the thinking goes, popular films will now have a prime-time slot during the Oscars telecast. Presumably, if this rule had been implemented a decade ago, the likes of The Dark Knight, Avatar, and Fury Road would’ve all been Popular Film winners. And this coming year, Black Panther should be guaranteed a nomination.
The effect the looming backlash over any Black Panther snubs had on these rule changes can’t be overstated. The movie was a titanic blockbuster that warranted very early Oscars buzz when it debuted in February. Recent Oscars history, however, suggests the best-case scenario for Black Panther is a Best Picture nomination, with an outside shot at winning the whole thing—or worse, a replay of the Straight Outta Compton debacle in 2016, when that movie’s snub gave way to the #OscarsSoWhite movement. Quite clearly, the Outstanding Achievement in Popular Film category appears to be a preemptive move to avoid controversy—while also addressing the more sweeping problem of dwindling interest in the ceremony.