The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced earlier today the creation of a brand new Oscars category: Outstanding achievement in popular film. The new category’s eligibility requirements won’t be revealed until a later date, but the decision is already being widely mocked and criticized by film critics, writers, and reporters on social media.
IndieWire’s awards editor Anne Thompson slammed the category creation as a “desperate ratings attempt.” Many film journalists view the decision to add a popular film category as a way for the Academy to acknowledge blockbuster movies and studio tentpoles that often don’t make the cut for best picture. The problem here, as many writers pointed out on social media, stems from the fact that putting studio blockbusters in a “popular” category suggests they aren’t as artistic as the indie movies that get nominated for best picture.
“As for a ‘popular film’ award, it is a ghetto and will be perceived that way,” journalist Mark Harris wrote on Twitter. “Imagine if they instituted it this year: ‘Oh, It’s lovely that the rabble went to Black Panther–here’s a special fake Oscar it can win!’ This is just a head-slapper on all counts.”
The fact the new popular film category was announced ahead of an awards season where “Black Panther” is being viewed as a major contender for best picture is providing extreme blowback to Academy’s decision. “Black Panther” is critically acclaimed and is only the third movie in U.S. box office history to surpass $700 million, which makes it a no-brainer for a popular film award. Journalists are now worried relegating “Black Panther” to a popular film category will hurt its chances of being nominated in the main races, which are inarguably more prestigious.
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Check out the heated response to the Academy’s new category below.
Awarding films for their outstanding popularity?! Congrats to the producers of the Not Good Enough For Best Picture Consideration award, which will get buried in the soft pile of hundreds of millions of box office dollars. https://t.co/eMWYJtP973
— Scott Tobias (@scott_tobias) August 8, 2018
2018: The Academy announces a new award for “Popular Film”!
2020: The Academy announces a new award for “Best Cinematic Universe!”
2022: The Academy announces a new award for “TV Shows that Feel Like 10-Hour Movies!”
2024: The Academy announces that “gifs are the new cinema!”
— david ehrlich (@davidehrlich) August 8, 2018
— Alison Willmore (@alisonwillmore) August 8, 2018
So they’re really that scared to not give an Oscar to Black Panther, huh https://t.co/ipCuPHYv8Q
— Charles Bramesco (@intothecrevasse) August 8, 2018
adding a “popular film” category sounds both incredibly vague and incredibly lame, but refusing to broadcast technical awards is much much worse and more depressing
— David Sims (@davidlsims) August 8, 2018
Well, the Oscars had a good run.
— Joe Reid (@joereid) August 8, 2018
The Academy is going to be so confused when people aren’t happy that they gave Black Panther their newly invented Consolation Prize Oscar.
— Courtney Enlow (@courtenlow) August 8, 2018
#TheAcademy out here like “Ugh fine, peasants. We’ll acknowledge your superhero movies but not with a REAL Oscar.”
— Donna Dickens (@MildlyAmused) August 8, 2018
This is infuriating. Why not add best kiss while you’re at it? https://t.co/cN8Uv42fMB
— erickohn (@erickohn) August 8, 2018
As for a “popular film” award, it is a ghetto and will be perceived that way. Imagine if they instituted it this year: “Oh, It’s lovely that the rabble went to Black Panther–here’s a special fake Oscar it can win!” This is just a head-slapper on all counts.
— Mark Harris (@MarkHarrisNYC) August 8, 2018
So the Oscars are creating “a new category for Outstanding Achievement in Popular Film.” It’s a golden pacifier for the forty-year-old manbabies who are always boo-hooing that their precious superhero movies never get nominated.
— Sean Burns (@SeanMBurns) August 8, 2018
— Amy Nicholson (@TheAmyNicholson) August 8, 2018
congratulations to Black Panther on winning whatever this Oscar is and nothing else
— kateyrich (@kateyrich) August 8, 2018
I find it suspect that the Academy is adding a popular film category the same year BLACK PANTHER earned tons of Oscar/Best Picture buzz. Fuck that. pic.twitter.com/1lNahLeXj5
— Jamie Righetti (@JamieRighetti) August 8, 2018
R.I.P. The Academy. The Oscars as we know it are over. A sad day for Hollywood.
— Jeff Sneider (@TheInSneider) August 8, 2018
The Academy: If we give an Oscar to a superhero movie, will you please watch our show?
— Matt Goldberg (@MattGoldberg) August 8, 2018
Just give Kevin Feige an honorary Oscar and move on.
— Matt Patches (@misterpatches) August 8, 2018