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Will the New “Most Popular” Category Make a Difference at the Oscars?

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The Oscars have been scrutinized over the last few years for not exactly being fair. Will the new "most popular" category change any of that?

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Recently, the Oscar’s announced that they would be adding a new category for the awards show next year.  More specifically it’s going to be awarding achievements in popular film.  Is this a good idea?  Many are saying no, based on the little information that we have about this category so far.  But I think that this is at least moving in the right direction.  Many are also suggesting that this is a panicked move in order to ensure that the movie Black Panther gets nominated for Best Picture.  There are a few ways to look at this, I think.  One is to say that Black Panther (or any other movie that is amazing but doesn’t get nominated) isn’t of the same caliber of films that do get nominated into this category.

The other way to look at it is to recognize that these movies are incredible, but maybe we shouldn’t be measuring it against movies in the Best Picture category. Not necessarily because they’re not just as good, but they’re good for a different reason.  As an aside, I work in a highly regulated industry.  My job is to analyze corporate policies and procedures to ensure that they are free from any kind of bias.  When we find one that is biased, my job is to recognize what the bias is and then attempt to remove that from the policy or procedure. Maybe that’s what the Academy is doing. Maybe they’ve recognized the fact that there are a lot of really great movies that need recognition.

But what they haven’t done, in my opinion, is removed that bias that I was referring to.  That bias being that there are movies that aren’t in the same category as Best Picture.  They’re good. Heck, they’re even incredible.  But they don’t necessarily deserve the Best Picture award.  But what does this mean for movies that have already been overlooked for Best Picture?  Well, it’s a bit of a slap in the face.  But, at the same time, change is happening.  The following is a list of movies that were past over for best picture recognition.  Do you think they should have been given the opportunity to win?  Or, do you think that they would have won the Most Popular category, had it existed in that time?

  • Star Trek (2009)
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (2011)
  • Skyfall (2012)
  • The Lego Movie (2014)
  • Creed (2015)
  • Inside Out (2015)
  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015)
  • Moana (2016)
  • Baby Driver (2017)
  • Coco (2017)

Should animated movies be considered for Best Picture?  Maybe yes, maybe no.  But if they are, I definitely think the criteria for the category needs to be changed.  Or does it?  I guess what I’m seeing is that “we” (society) are trying to cram every movie possible into the Best Picture category, and of course, it’s not working.  That’s why the Academy comes up with other categories, in order to ensure that films are being acknowledged for their work.  I’m not saying that they’re perfect, but I am saying that they’re making progress.  Progress is better than sitting around and not doing anything.  I’d like to see more work done, but I am not going to get ahead of myself just yet.

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