Best Popular Film: A Response to the Oscars

If you didn’t know, the Oscars just announced a new category to its award ceremonies called “Best Popular Film”. This category is useless. Although the Oscars hasn’t specifically outlined the nature of this new accolade, it can be assumed by the title that it’s a category for the most popular films of the year–shocker. I can assume that “popular” in this sense means the ones that made the most money that year. However, a movie’s profit is by no means a testament to its actual quality. Incredibles 2, Jumanji, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom are all on 2018’s highest grossing movies list; however, those don’t deserve to be nominated for an Oscar.

Furthermore, this category brings up another problem. A LOT of top grossing movies have been also nominated for the Best Picture category in the past, such as Titanic, Inception, Gravity, Dunkirk, to name a few. So, this raises a question: where is the line drawn between what is considered “Popular” versus what is considered “Best Picture.” Are the Best Picture nominees only indie films that are allegories for a bigger social issue that nobody really understands and/or enjoys but just talks about to sound intelligent amongst their peers?

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This now leads me to my final point: some lucrative films, such as the ones listed above, do deserve a nomination in Best Picture! But this new category seems like a weak and lazy escape from not choosing films that deserve this esteemed nomination but isn’t deemed “sophisticated” enough to be nominated alongside said indie, allegorical, incomprehensible ones.

Overall, the Oscars did not give any other details regarding this change, so I’m not sure specifically how the process goes for defining a “popular” film. Hopefully, it will be based on more substantial factors than profit. But I still can’t think of any good reasons for them to add it in. What are your opinions? Do you like the change: why or why not?

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