The Academy of Motion Picture Art and Sciences has been battling to raise awareness of the Oscars for a few years now with mixed results. Its latest attempt comes in the form of several changes, one of which is the addition of a new category that is "being designed around achievement in popular film." The other way of reading that is "Best Blockbuster," and the news was largely met negatively by film critics and people in Hollywood who saw the addition as the Oscars taking one step closer to becoming the MTV Movie Awards.
Not a great start, and the Oscars were just vague enough that there are a few questions hanging in the air about the new category. The Academy will likely address all of these the closer it gets to the Oscars' airdate next year, but until then, movie lovers are left to wonder the logistics of how a Popular films category will work and what it means for the film industry at large. You can bet that CinemaBlend has some questions, which we've collected in no particular order.
What Defines A 'Popular' Film?
The introduction of this category is almost certainly meant to address the criticism that the Academy gets for its snubbing of genre films, which have a lot of success with fans and the box office, but little recognition in the awards circuit. However, one would figure that the criteria for this category have to be more than "people really liked it." Get Out, which was nominated for Best Picture, grossed over $250 million worldwide, was loved by critics and fans, and it was a horror movie that broke ground for the genre. If there was a popular films category, would it have qualified? Best Picture winner The Godfather is one of the most well-known movies ever made. Plenty of Best Picture nominees and winners have been popular, so what exactly is the cutoff? The number of special effects and capes?
Is There A Limit To Box Office Total?
Assuming that the amount of money a movie makes does play into whether it can be nominated, what would the minimum total need to be? Blockbusters have a reputation for scoring big at the box office, with obvious examples being Star Wars and Marvel movies. On the other side of the spectrum, Best Picture nominees have a reputation for being critical darlings that no one goes to see. Historically there have been a lot of Best Picture nominees that have done well at the box office. Last years winner The Shape of Water (another genre movie) grossed almost $200 million worldwide. Why does there need to be a popular film category when Best Picture winners can and have been popular? Plus, doesn't making the box office such a big focus on winning an award basically saying that making money is more important than being, well, a good movie?