The Academy is in hot water once again. Not for it’s blatant racism in movies and sexism from it’s members. This time they’re trying to attract the attention of “masses” by adding a “popular film” category. Some filmmakers have already called it “the death of Cinema”.
Let’s start with the Why of this drama. The viewership for the Oscars has been steadily dropping since 2014.
This can be attributes to the fact that no one wants to sit for 5 hours just to see the who wins to 3-4 categories they actually cared about. They also plan to shorten the duration of the event, which is another blunder in itself. It might cut out a few awards from the stream and doing so will insult every member of the industry whose role is ignored by the academy.
The popular film category will be awarded to “outstanding achievement in popular film.” Who suggested this change? Disney owned ABC networks. Where does the Oscars Air? Disney owned ABC. Which studio owns 4 of the 5 highest grossing movies this year? Disney again.
It is likely that is just a way for Disney to add a few Oscars to their dragon’s-lair-worth of cash that they are sitting on. Disney owns Marvel. They own Star Wars. They already have their own plethora of charcters that haven’t gone public domain yet (thanks to their lobbying). They recently got the rights to the X men. So at this point they are 10% my parents
Awards based on popularity may create a virtual Monopoly by just one studio. Making House Mouse one of the most powerful organizations out there.
Here’s why this category is a dumb idea:
- First of all, this just shows the mindset that Oscar voters have going into the decisions. They are admitting that there’s a Stark difference between what THEY consider quality and what the audience enjoys. If “popular” flims gets nominated, then why can they not be in the “best movie” category? The audiences approval should outweigh the approval of a few wealthy experienced snobs, yet it doesn’t.
- Art is subjective. Some enjoy hard hitting social commentaries and dramas based on real stories. While others enjoy sprawling space operas and silly comedies. So why is one fan assumed to be superior the other?
- This creates a mad race for directors who want Oscars by making movies about the same themes over and over again. “Oscar bait” is already a popular term. I don’t mean to disrespect any previous nominee here. I try to watch as many nominated movies as possible and I have enjoyed them for the most part.
The best solution:
The Oscars should take notes from other award shows. The best picture/actor etc awards should be given on the basis on genres. The idea that movies of Variety can be given recognition will incentivise filmmakers to bring variety in their movies. Even different genres like horror and comedy, often criticised for lacking logic may up it’s game and start putting out better movies.
The Academy spent the last few years trying to fix the #Oscarssowhite debacle and giving ample representation to actors. Now it’s time for them to give representation to movies as well