The Academy announced some big changes to their annual broadcast today, including trimming the length of the show to three hours, airing “select” awards during the commercial breaks (most likely, the awards not attached to famous faces, which is patently unfair), and, oh yes, adding an ‘Outstanding Popular Film’ category. Also known as the ‘Pleasing the Plebs’ award. Most film critics and Twitter users were quick to point out that a) this seemed like a boldfaced ploy to increase viewership (which hit an all-time low last year) by including superhero and other blockbuster movies in the Oscars fold without actually having to grant them any major awards b) the inaugural award of the category would essentially be the Black Panther Consolation Prize and c) separating “best film” from “best popular film” would drive an even bigger rift between what’s viewed as “art” and what’s considered too mainstream to be worthy of a lofty award.
Of course, not all “popular” movies deserve to be nominated for an Oscar. (I’m looking at you, Deadpool.) But there are plenty of box office smashes that do: Black Panther and A Quiet Place are the first that come to mind. But by creating a dumping ground for films the Academy clearly deems not “serious” enough to be nominated in the Best Picture category, it’s decreasing the already low shot these very worthy films have at the industry’s biggest honour.
The only ones pleased with this announcement so far seem to be the Academy because everyone else? Not so much. Read on for some of the best Twitter reactions from film critics.
If one category is Popular Film, then another category has to be Film Nobody Cared About But People Think Talking About It Made Them Sound Smart.
— Linda Holmes (@lindaholmes) August 8, 2018
“The Oscars are creating a special category for Outstanding Popular Film” is the most withering insult I’ve ever heard
— Alexandra Petri (@petridishes) August 8, 2018
2018: The Academy announces a new award for "Popular Film”!
2020: The Academy announces a new award for “Best Cinematic Universe!"
2022: The Academy announces a new award for “TV Shows that Feel Like 10-Hour Movies!"
2024: The Academy announces that “gifs are the new cinema!”
— david ehrlich (@davidehrlich) August 8, 2018
You know what doesn't get enough recognition? Extremely popular films.
— Scott Tobias (@scott_tobias) August 8, 2018
And the Oscar for Best Achievement in Pandering goes to … https://t.co/2U0uRZEh59
— Justin Chang (@JustinCChang) August 8, 2018
The Academy: If we give an Oscar to a superhero movie, will you please watch our show?
— Matt Goldberg (@MattGoldberg) August 8, 2018
“The Black Panther Memorial Award for Movie That We’re Afraid Won’t Get a Best Picture Nomination”
— David Sims (@davidlsims) August 8, 2018
Here's the ten highest-grossing films, when accounting for inflation aka America's most "popular" films. Every single one was either nominated for or won Best Picture with the exception of "Snow White," which was given an honorary Oscar. Popular films are films! pic.twitter.com/8wIB0NGyLh
— Frank Pallotta (@frankpallotta) August 8, 2018
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