The Academy has decided to change things up with a few announcements this week including shortening the length of the Oscars ceremony (good news fir people like me in the UK because it will no longer require staying up until 5am) and adding a new accolade called the Popular Film Award. There’s been a lot of talk about this and rightly so. What are the requirements to be nominated? Will it be based on box office numbers as well as filmmaking? Is this to make the Oscars seem less pretentious? Lots of thoughts and unanswered questions at the moment so here are the pros and cons of the biggest Oscars shake up in years.
The Oscars has always been looked to for esteem and prestige during the awards season. It’s main categories which come towards the end of the evening include best actor and actress, best film and so on. To include “popular” films will take away some of the esteem and the way the Academy seemingly looks down on other award shows.
For a number of years now, those who have won these awards have been part of a certain selection of films which are traditionally released between October and February, depending on which country you currently reside. It’s always come across as incredibly unfair that because of a handful of films launched at a particular time of the year they are the ones to receive most of the praise. As a frequent film goer it’s a treat to have a huge selection of good quality movies in a short period of time, especially since there have been instances in which the choice of blockbusters during the summer months has been sub par at best.
However this year we’ve had the likes of Black Panther and Mission: Impossible Fallout which have dominated the box office with the former recently surpassing the $700m in the US domestic box office. Take away the financial successes of films like this and you still have something incredible and award worthy. Including movies like this will widen the net for more to apply for these awards without the assumption of rejection. But is this the right way to become more inclusive?
Without question there are more cons than pros. Having said all of the above, it seems as if filmmaking isn’t appreciated on a whole by the Academy. Big CGI movies should still be considered great movies (assuming we’re not considering the likes of Sharknado etc.) due to the fact that the art should be appreciated. Very clearly it isn’t.
First things first, why can’t so-called popular films be nominated in the prestigious categories to begin with? Time and time again they have proved that a lot of them have great writing, direction, acting and so much more to offer. Logan which was nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay was the first superhero film to be nominated in this category. How you can ignore the performances in that film especially in a year when Gary Oldman won (separate issue, justice for Chalamet) is beyond me! A film with huge action set pieces should still be considered if it is in fact a good entertaining movie.
Another issue is that it feels more like a consolation prize than a genuine award. Imagine winning one of these because it’s popular and not being appreciated for the work you have created. Yes you’ll have an Oscar but no real acknowledgement, it feels insulting when you should be eligible for any award. This is not how it was back in 2004 when a film of an epic scale and part of one of the biggest trilogies of all time won 11 Oscars including Best Director and Best Film. It’s considered a modern time great in which you can see real filmmaking taking place, someone’s passion comes through on screen and another example of exemplary acting and direction proving that large scale movies have what it takes. The film in question? Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.
One last thing is how exactly can you categorise a popular movie? Will it actually be by box office? Will it need to be a franchise film such as a Marvel, DC, Star Wars etc? A lot of the times it’s these films which reach fans who want to see any movie they can and it goes on to inspire them to become the next generation of talented filmmakers. The Academy can look down on films like this and when you see those who have unreservedly won award for their work you wonder how right will they get it.
Bottom line, it’s insulting to not be included in with other films. Whilst trying to be inclusive the Academy has just become more separated.
One more thing, if you want to add an award, how about Best Stunt? What are your thoughts?
Keep. It. Reel