Reactions to the Academy’s announcement of a new Best Popular Film award have been mixed, which is a polite way of saying that most consider it a bad idea — especially in the year of “Black Panther,” the rare superhero movie to be as well received among critics as it is among audiences. According to a new Los Angeles Times report, Marvel Studios head Kevin Fiege has invested in a “significant awards season budget” for the first time, and doesn’t want to settle for the new award.
“Right now, I think [Academy CEO] Dawn Hudson would crawl in a hole if ‘Black Panther’ gets snubbed for best picture and winds up landing in the popular film category,” one anonymous Oscars consultant said to the Times. “The funny thing is that Dawn would be way more disappointed than anyone at Marvel.” Disney has hired Cynthia Swartz, a veteran Oscar strategist, to lead the film’s award campaign.
“I would like to see the hard work and the effort and the vision and the belief of the talented filmmaker Ryan Coogler, who sat across the table from us a few years ago and said, ‘I have been wrestling with questions about my past and my heritage and I think I really want to tell a story within this movie,’ ” Feige said. “And that he did it so unbelievably well and with so much impact…seeing that potentially being recognized is what excites me the most.”