In Reaction To: The Academy Adding “Outstanding Achievement in Popular Film” Category to the Oscars

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The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Board of Governors have decided to add a new category to the Oscars. Not to honor stunt men and women but popular movies. Oy vey.


Category Oscars, Entertainment, Movies

Summary

Since 2014, when the Oscars peaked at 43.7 million viewers, the ratings have been going further and further down. The 2018 Oscars hit 26.5 million viewers so, naturally, everyone is freaking out. ABC, who broadcasts the event, is worried since there aren’t a lot of programs which make huge numbers anymore. So one of their biggest dropping by half in around 4 years is alarming. Then, when it comes to the Academy, with nearly half of their operating budget coming from the Oscars, this is a major red flag.

So, desperate times call for desperate measures. They tried younger hosts, expanding the Best Picture category, and now they are making a whole new one. A category dedicated to popular movies. So, even if the movie was trashed by everyone, maybe with enough money made, it can still win an Oscar!

Question(s) Left Unanswered

  1. What Will The Criteria Be?

One of the biggest issues the Oscars have faced, outside of ratings, are multiple social media campaigns against lack of diversity in nominees and voters. Which they have tried to rectify by increasing the diversity of their ranks year after year. Both in terms of the amount of women voters and people of color. However, it wasn’t enough so now we got a popularity category. Leading to the need to question: What will the criteria be?

Perhaps the most obvious would be box office numbers. Meaning, yes, eventually Oscar season will probably be the summer months as much as it is the winter. So expect Disney to probably own more than half of the category, year after year, and superhero movies to all be competing for Oscars beyond technical awards.

But, what else could be part of the criteria? Considering how the Oscars are leaning more and more towards desperation, could the popularity of the actor count? If their movie did well, and they have a large social media following, could that influence their movie’s chance? After all, nominees campaigning for their movie is how the Oscars build up hype. Will a comedian get nominated for Best (Insert Here) thanks to their hilarious and touching performance or will it be yet another movie which makes you think you need a therapist?

  1. Does This Lessen The Clout of The Oscars?

For those who are called “Cinephiles,” aka the people who usually get to see movies for free, the move does lead you to wonder if this lessens what clout the Oscars have or had. The movie to 10 best picture nominees was met with mixed feelings. To the point, it is surprising that for other categories, be it director, actress, writer, and animated film, an increase hasn’t happened.

But, one of the things which made the Oscars so significant is that they didn’t seem trapped by what movie made the most money to garner its worth and longevity. Which isn’t to imply any and all Oscar winners have eternal value. However, you must admit there is a certain loss of dignity involved when you realize this category isn’t coming while the Oscars are doing well but in a ratings freefall.

Leading you to wonder, if the ratings fall again, or just barely hold steady, what’s next? Will the Oscars start stealing categories that MTV does for its awards show? Are you ready for an award dedicated to best Hero or Villain?

  1. Aren’t There Better Categories To Add?

Speaking of stealing categories, why not steal the BAFTAs “Rising Star” or “Best Debut?” How about, which has been called on for a while, one for stunt people? Considering they are the reason most of the top films are such hits, shouldn’t they be honored? Heck, they could even follow MTV’s suit and make a “Best Actor” period. Which, yes, would mean possibly more controversy, but also more competition. They could even split it between comedic and dramatic to give comedians the chance to show up, make a name for themselves further, and it be a decent trial run to host.

Oh, and let’s not forget yet another category that can and should have long been stolen: The Screen Actors Guild’s “Best Cast in a Motion Picture” award.

Miscellaneous Commentary

To me, the popularity of the Oscars has fallen, not because they haven’t had popular movies nominated, but because there is no reason to watch live. With the internet, I can just watch something else and get live updates from IMDB. Why should I sit through categories where I didn’t watch a single movie nominated? What makes anyone think that categories which don’t feature famous people are going to be the kind of filler they’ll suffer through to eventually get to Best Picture and the big awards at hour 3?

So, how can the Oscars improve? First, it needs to start earlier. 7 PM start time with an aim to end around 10 PM, if they are truly going to aim for 3 hours. Also, while members won’t be happy, I’m sure between ABC and the Academy, they have the reports needed to know which categories can be posted online and left off a live broadcast. There is already a pre-Oscar ceremony the night before, so make use of that.

Hell, maybe split the Oscars into a two-day thing. With commercials, they can make it where Saturday is two hours and so could Sunday. From what I’ve read, it isn’t like the Academy doesn’t rent the theaters for weeks and all it takes to run the show.

Which may lead you to wonder, how would they split the awards? Well, assuming they keep the awards they have, Saturday would have the majority of technical awards, shorts, and would be capped off with the best animated feature, popular movie, and supporting actors. Leaving Sunday to host best costume, foreign language picture, writing awards, best actors, and motion picture. A two-day event which, if Disney (who owns ABC) wanted to, they could put the Saturday event on their subscription service as an exclusive with a recap as part of the Sunday event.

But, what do I know? Nearly all award shows are dropping in ratings, so all you can do is dry to stop the bleeding. Leading to one last question: Will there come a day the Oscars get canceled?


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Source(s)

Tv Ratings: Oscars Drop To All-time Low 26.5 Million Viewers
Michael O’Connell – https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/live-feed/tv-ratings-oscars-eye-new-low-early-numbers-1091636

Oscars won $51.2 million profit last year
Annlee Ellingson – https://www.bizjournals.com/losangeles/news/2013/01/25/ampas-reports-103-million-in-revenues.html

Academy Adds Popular Film Oscar Category in Desperate Ratings Move
Anne Thompson – https://www.indiewire.com/2018/08/academy-popular-film-oscars-category-ratings-abc-1201992305/

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About Amari Sali 2987 Articles
New Jersey native Amari Sali takes the approach of more so being a media advisor than a critic to sort of fill in the gap left between casual fans of media and those who review productions for a living. Thus being open about bias while still giving enough insight, often with spoilers, to present whether something is worth seeing, buying, renting, streaming, or checking out at all.

1 Comment

  1. I have to admit, I don’t really care about the Oscars. While it is nice when a film I liked or enjoyed gets acknowledgement, the vast majority of movies I enjoy don’t get a look in given I have a decided preference in films for pulp fiction with a heavy focus on sci-fi, fantasy, action and horror, none of which get a lot of look in at the awards except maybe for costumes, music or special effects. That said, I’d be far more likely to watch any of the Oscars if they did break it up into smaller streaming segments and you could just watch the announcement of one category or the like rather than sitting through a whole show and all the commentary (and honestly, I usually do catch the highlights for categories I’m interested in – on YouTube).
    I think the big issue here is the Academy need to figure out what the Oscars are actually about. If it is genuinely about the Academy acknowledging films that have a certain prestige in their eyes, then they shouldn’t keep trying to pander to an audience. Maybe scale down the grandeur, and simply celebrate film with those nominated and those who are interested in the values that the Academy represents. If they want to have a popular awards show that gets lots of views, then they need to acknowledge that across all of their awards and not just throw a token bone to the audience and hope that makes us sit through hours of viewing.

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