Many have taken to social media to criticize Academy members’ Wednesday announcement to add the new bracket, which some view as an excuse not to nominate critically acclaimed blockbusters like “Black Panther” for best picture.
Variety journalists Meredith Woerner, Stuart Oldham, and Kristopher Tapley were among the first to comment on the news, calling the addition “lazy,” “staggeringly ham-fisted,” and “a HUGE step back for genre film.”
“So…does that mean that films like ‘Black Panther’ and ‘Mission Impossible’ can’t compete for Best Picture?” Oldham mused.
The Academy has a long reputation of snubbing hit films whose genres aren’t usually considered Oscar material. Last year, “Wonder Woman’s” complete shutout aroused an uproar from many who consider the first female-headlined superhero film award-worthy, and as Woerner pointed out, Christopher Nolan’s “The Dark Knight” was nominated for eight Academy Awards, but not best picture.
Does that mean even less Academy recognition for similar films now that they may have a separate category? It’s not only Variety reporters who think so.
The Atlantic’s David Sims dubbed the new bracket “The Black Panther Memorial Award for Movie That We’re Afraid Won’t Get a Best Picture Nomination,” while Vulture’s Mark Harris deemed it a “special fake Oscar” for the first superhero film with a primarily black cast.
CNN’s Frank Pallotta pointed out that several past blockbusters have been best picture nominees and winners, accompanying his tweet with a chart of high-grossing films like “Gone With the Wind,” “Star Wars,” and “Jaws,” that garnered Academy recognition.
“Here’s the ten highest-grossing films, when accounting for inflation aka America’s most ‘popular’ films,” Palotta wrote. “Every single one was either nominated or won Best Picture with the exception of ‘Snow White,’ which was given an honorary Oscar. Popular films are films!”
Others blasted the academy with insults, calling the new changes “inane” and those who made them “cowards,” while “Lord of the Rings” veteran Elijah Wood simply tweeted, “Best Popular Film? oof.”
“Oscars designating a new award for ‘popular movies’ just reiterates to its entire voting body and the world the inane conception that genre movies aren’t as good as dramatic! independent! films!” wrote Polygon’s Julia Alexander.
But not everyone is upset about the pop award. “The Last Fall” director Matthew A. Cherry agreed “Black Panther” is a shoo-in, while adding that he’d like to see the Academy add a best stunt race, too.
See more reactions below: