If you’ve been keeping yourself updated with the latest Oscars news, the fact that the Academy just announced a new award category won’t escape you. If you’ve heard of it, there’s also a good chance that you know just how much film fans and experts are against it.
A quick search for the Best Popular Film category will show you how disapproving a lot of people is about the idea. Even with the use of the most basic and neutral keywords will give you the negative reaction of the general film-viewing populace over its announcement.
How did this new award elicit such a response? Why are people so against it? What is it even about? Let’s take a closer look at it below.
What is the Best Popular Film Category?
The concept behind the Best Popular Film category is pretty straightforward. They aim to recognize blockbuster films for their achievements.
It is said that the introduction of this new category is so the Academy can make itself relevant again to younger viewers. As its original followers continue to age, they think they are losing touch with the younger generations. Their falling ratings tend to solidify this theory.
The Popular Film category aims to appeal to those who think that the Academy is “too artsy” even if it’s really not. Unfortunately, the announcement sent out by their chief executive, Dawn Hudson, didn’t specify how they intend to classify ‘popular’ movies. They did say that the eligibility requirements will be made available in the future but critics are still not too trusting about its inclusions.
Because of these, what this category is about is still entirely up for speculation. Without an official and definitive guide from the Academy, no one can be certain what this category is really about.
Why Everyone is Up in Arms about the New Category
Aside from its vagueness, there are tons of other reasons why people are against the idea of the Best Popular Film category. Different experts raise various issues with this new category. Some of the most notable ones are the following:
1. It could dismiss or diminish the significant value of some popular films just because they’re blockbuster hits.
While popular films aren’t always snubbed by the Academy, the threat of elitism is definitely there with the creation of the new award. If a film is categorized as such, some might dismiss its value because it’s been recognized for its popularity.
Some experts also worry popular films might also have lower chances of getting considered for the Best Picture category because they were already recognized for their blockbuster success. While the Academy did say that the movies in this category can still be considered for the Best Picture award, it’s still not very reassuring. With the Academy’s track record, there’s a better chance of them using this category as a way to quench the public’s clamor for them to give the best big budget films a shot.
2. It could affect the artistry of current filmmakers and the future ones.
Most experts insist that the Best Popular Film category is bad for filmmakers because it might affect the artistic direction of their movies. As the Academy hasn’t defined the category yet and because the idea really has a vague concept to it, a filmmaker might not always know that they’re making a popular film.
If they happened to feel like they’re straddling the line between Best Picture and Best Popular Film, then they might decide to make fateful decisions that can affect the overall quality of their work. Masterpieces can lose their magic and filmmakers might lose touch with their films just because of an award. In the end, the viewers will lose as we’ll miss out on what could have been excellent movies.
3. It’s doubtful that the Academy members were able to really think this award through.
There’s a good chance that this category will most likely already take place in 2019, affecting most of the films we’ll see this year. This is a rather quick implementation which makes a lot of critics ask whether this is a well-thought-out idea.
New categories require lengthy discussion and consideration and nearly everyone doubts that this new category has gone through such. The fact that the Academy hasn’t released the criteria for the category yet makes everyone even more doubtful about this category’s credibility.
Whether you’re a regular or not at your local Megaplex or you just go to the movies when there are new releases that pique your curiosity, it wouldn’t be a stretch that even you will be affected by this new Oscars category. Let’s just hope that the Academy decides to listen to the public outcry against this move and come up with better measures to keep their institution’s influence over the industry.