The Oscars Make a Big, Dumb Change

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2018 marks the 91st Oscar ceremony, and will end up having the worst category debuting in the history of the Academy. In addition, some long overdue will also be implemented - such as reducing the time to 3 hours by taking out some of the less popular categories. Sorry to all the viewers that are intrigued by who will win the Oscar for Sound Editing and Best Sound Mixing categories (congratulations, too, for knowing what the difference is.) The next change is that the Academy is moving up the ceremony to February 9th. This gives voters less time to vote which could be good or bad. Some films need a little bit of time to process, but the voter’s decision is probably made the moment they walk out of the theater anyway. It’ll be interesting to see what kind of change that might elicit from production studios, now that they have a new deadline for their Oscar bait films at the end of the year. If that means that those movies now actually get to come out by the end of the year then I’ll be a happy viewer.

The biggest change is the addition of the “Achievement in Popular Film” award. We don’t really know exactly what that means for sure - but it most likely rewards the movies that already made a boatload of money with an award on top of making all that green. Does this mean that movies that are both good and made a lot of money are going to win an Oscar for that now or does it mean the the movie that makes the most money overall wins an Oscar? Whatever the case may be, it will definitely diminish the chances of a movie like The Dark Knight, Inception, Up, or Black Panther getting nominated for or ever winning Best Picture.

Looking back at a movie like The Dark Knight, you can see that it was for sure the most popular and critically well received movie from that year. If this new category was installed at that time, would the film ever have been nominated for Best Picture? It’s hard to tell because of the term “popular”, what do they mean by that anyway? Surely they aren’t going to give an Oscar to a film that trends the most on Twitter, so how are they going to decide that? Why does it matter if the film was popular or not? If it’s a great film, then it’s a great film. The real trouble with this category is that it makes it seem like a film being popular is somehow deserving of different merits compared to just being the Best Picture. There are so many other categories that could be given an Oscar instead of “Popular” films. They could make a category for Horror, Comedy or Musical. People love genre films and it’s one of the biggest factors into why someone could go to a movie, yet they chose to ignore those films and give no merit to them.  The Academy is strategically doing everything it can to make it seem very outdated. They seem to think that adding the word “popular” in front of a new category will win them first-time viewers. If they want to gain viewership for these tedious ceremonies and win back moviegoers, they must stop doing dumb stuff like this.