The recent announcement of a new "Popular Film" category for the Oscars has Hollywood buzzing about whether it's a good idea. In light of last year's all-time low ratings for the award show, the Academy has decided that if they include an award recognizing the blockbuster films that everyone generally has an opinion on, presumably in hopes it might improve viewership of the annual broadcast. While much of the film community initially took to social media to share their disappointment with the new category, not everyone shares the same strong distaste for recognizing popular films. Mark Wahlberg is the latest actor to welcome the new Oscar category, here's why he's supporting it in his own words:
Maybe if they'd had the category before, we'd have won a couple of them. We've had some really commercially successful films that we think certainly warranted that kind of notoriety. We make films that we want people to enjoy and if we get those kind of accolades, fantastic. If not, we make the movies for audiences to enjoy.
Mark Wahlberg showed his support for the category to Variety at the premiere of his new starring role in Mile 22. Whether Wahlberg's popular releases like Transformers and Ted would have taken home an Oscar in their respective years is anyone's guess, but it would have been interesting for the award show to have the option for recognition. As Wahlberg points out, it should be taken into consideration that even if a movie didn't offer the same type of acclaim the Academy nominates for Best Picture candidates, it doesn't mean highly successful films aren't just as deserving of recognition.
The actor has had a diverse career, with a combination of both critical acclaim and box office success with his projects. Mark Wahlberg was recognized by The Academy with two supporting actor nominations for his performances in The Departed and The Fighter. As explained in his statement, filmmakers hopefully make movies with audiences in mind, not in hopes of just impressing the Academy. And the business will continue to function this way. It's certainly validating to the filmmakers and actors when their hard work is recognized with an award nomination, but a movie's success and quality don't depend on The Academy.
In the end, The Oscars is an award show that relies on viewership for it to continue to be broadcast. Rooting for your favorite movies to be recognized by The Academy will likely result in more moviegoers tuning in. Popular films that previously weren't present in the Best Picture category before will now have a spot to be formally recognized.