The Academy’s new Oscars popular film category isn’t so popular.
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.
So…does that mean films like 'Black Panther' and 'Mission Impossible' can't compete for Best Picture? https://t.co/ed4NfFcflX
— Stuart Oldham (@s_oldham) August 8, 2018
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.
“The Black Panther Memorial Award for Movie That We’re Afraid Won’t Get a Best Picture Nomination”
— David Sims (@davidlsims) August 8, 2018
There is already an award for popular films. It's called "money." I have no particular problem with the other new Oscar moves–to insist on a three-hour show (whatever) and to move it a couple of weeks earlier (won't help a thing but won't hurt anything). >
— Mark Harris (@MarkHarrisNYC) August 8, 2018
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!”
Here's the ten highest-grossing films, when accounting for inflation aka America's most "popular" films. Every single one was either nominated for or won Best Picture with the exception of "Snow White," which was given an honorary Oscar. Popular films are films! pic.twitter.com/8wIB0NGyLh
— Frank Pallotta (@frankpallotta) August 8, 2018
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.”
Best Popular Film? oof
— Elijah Wood (@elijahwood) August 8, 2018
“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.
#BlackPanther got this Oscar on lock then. https://t.co/XD5lkXp3Q3
— Matthew A. Cherry (@MatthewACherry) August 8, 2018
See more reactions below:
The film business passed away today with the announcement of the “popular” film Oscar. It had been in poor health for a number of years. It is survived by sequels, tent-poles, and vertical integration.
— Rob Lowe (@RobLowe) August 8, 2018
the Oscars is adding a Best Popular Film category to be determined thru a combination of box office, fan voting, and number of a films costars bullied off social media due to constant death threats from racist trolls
— Matt 🎃swalt (@MattOswaltVA) August 8, 2018
Seems the Oscars are adding Best Popular Film category. Can best Non-Human Performance be far behind?
— Brent Spiner (@BrentSpiner) August 8, 2018
Personally, this feels like a HUGE step back for genre film. Dark Knight, LOTR, District 9, Get Out, & Shape of Water broke the mindsets that scifi and fantasy could be considered BEST PICTURE. Does this new POPULAR category give snobbier members an out? https://t.co/CeMf7B1Cul
— Meredith Woerner (@MdellW) August 8, 2018
re. these Oscar changes: I want #BlackPanther nominated for **Best Film**, not whatever new Popular Trending Thing category they making up
— Evan Narcisse (@EvNarc) August 8, 2018
Interesting how folks are assuming this new popular film Oscar category is for Black Panther.
— Rebecca Theodore-Vachon (@FilmFatale_NYC) August 8, 2018
JUST NOMINATE BLACK PANTHER FOR BEST PICTURE YOU COWARDS
— molly freeman (@mollyrockit) August 8, 2018
Film Twitter to the Academy pic.twitter.com/nvFXZn1drm
— Hillary Busis (@hillibusterr) 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
If one category is Popular Film, then another category has to be Film Nobody Cared About But People Think Talking About It Made Them Sound Smart.
— Linda Holmes Thinks You're Doing Great (@lindaholmes) August 8, 2018
“Outstanding Popular film?” The Oscars are basically creating an attendance award. Ugh.
— Mike Flanagan (@flanaganfilm) August 8, 2018