So, when you think of the Academy Awards, AKA Oscars, you think of all of these, for lack of a better phrasing, “epic but snooty films” winning awards.
And to a degree, you’re not wrong. Most of the time, unless you are a super film head, a lot of the films are emotional, dark, suspenseful, or full of emotion. The color palates are extremely fine-tuned, the score brings out the feeling of every inch of the story, and these films that win go down in history as “the films of that year,” “that decade,” “that time in history.”
So, when you watch everyone in their gala attire accepting awards for things like ‘The Shape Of Water,’ that is not the typical film that people are going to rush to see in theatres, like say, for example, a movie from Marvel Studios. And the shelf life for someone watching an Academy blessed film has changed after many years, because really, how many times are you going to watch ‘The English Patient?’
Well, the Academy is now adding a category for “Popular Film,” which are going to be the films that people went to see the most and loved in theatres, but they are going to be picking films that fit certain criteria, I would assume, as well.
The general public, who you would think would be excited about a new category, isn’t exactly thrilled that a category like this has to exist, because many of us actually like some amazing films that don’t even end up ranking. Yeah, I’m talking to the nerds out here for a moment.
For example, have you ever seen a Harry Potter film win for an Academy Award? No. In fact, TIME notes that it was nominated for 12 over the span of 8 years and it is considered the “most-snubbed-top-grossing franchise of all time.”
The fact that ‘Doctor Strange’ wasn’t noted for its visual artistry is kind of a crime, too. The ‘Lord Of The Rings Trilogy’ seems to be the only nerd-esque film that recieved Best Picture and Director awards, and ‘Star Wars’ received wins for Original Musical Score, Visual Effects, Sound Mixing, Production and Costume Design.
Though I am relying heavily on nerd culture, comedies often don’t rank for Oscars in ways you would hope. You didn’t see the female edition of ‘Ghostbusters’ land anything but People’s Choice Awards. What this really boils down to is the Academy trying to be accessible to the films that are making top grossing money, like ‘Avengers: Infinity War,’ but are worried to include it in ‘Best Picture’ categories because of the high-class criteria they are used to measuring films at.
Social Media, as well as commentary writers for places like CNET have noted that it sucks that we have to create a category just to find a way to give films like the ones I listed above accolades, because they don’t fit the cookie-cutter picking process for what’s considered one of the highest achievements in film. It’s basically like saying “Hey, this photo that someone took is aesthetically great, and technically executed in the correct way on Instagram, but we can’t ignore this hot chick got so many likes on her photo so I guess she gets an award too.”
The Senior Film Critic for IndieWire, David Ehrlich, says it best when he shared this tweet:
What we’re trying to say is, maybe you should change your parameters of what you think an Oscar Winning Movie should be, because honestly, a lot of us think ‘Black Panther’ got robbed.