Should there be a new Oscar for 'best popular film'?

Eliminating politics from Academy Awards show may be more effective

Dave Cohen, WWL First News early edition
August 10, 2018 - 12:39 pm

How many times have the nominations come out for the Oscars, and you realize you have seen very few - if any - of the movies up for an Academy Award?

Well, a new Oscar category may change that.

The Associated Press says that the Motion Picture Academy will now have an award for the "best popular film."

The AP article says the plan is being met with some very vocal anger:

To say the idea hasn't gone over well - would be an understatement. Actor Rob Lowe, a longtime academy member, went so far to declare the Oscars dead. He adds the ``late'' awards are ``survived by sequels, tent-poles and vertical integration.'' The Motion Picture Academy says the new category will help recognize movies that have wide appeal. But critics suggest winners in the new category might be seen as receiving a participation trophy. Others opposed to the idea say it might hurt movies like ``Black Panther'' - which many see as having a legitimate shot at winning the Oscar for best picture.  

I asked listeners to the Early Edition of WWL First News what they thought.  Here are some of the text messages we got at 870870:

  • Frankly my friend, I don't give a damn!!
  • So you mean to tell me a TV show that's already too long is just going to get longer? Just another reason to not watch.
  • What's an Oscar? I Haven't watched that in a long time
  • Snotty people getting snotty awards two other snotty people
  • Do they still do the Oscars...who knew...who cares haha
  • The Oscar's have become just a big joke. It used to be a night to truly showcase Hollywood's talent but now it has become a place for overly opinionated and overpaid actors to grandstand and posture about their political beliefs. So honestly who cares about the new film category!!!
  • Avitor should have been best picture in 2010. So yes, I like the new addition.
  • Call the new Oscar category "the most selling" instead of "most popular"
  • Everybody gets a trophy...
  • I could not care less about the Oscars honestly
  • Best popular film? Isn't that what they have the MTV movie awards for?
  • Who watches the Oscars anymore anyway

I think the Academy noted the ratings issues and diminishing interest in the Oscars too, and officials may think that offering an award to a more commercially successful film that more people have actually seen may help attract viewers.  If our audience is at all representative, I don't think this is going to achieve the goal.

Much like the NFL protests surrounding the national anthem, I just get the feeling that more and more people want some places where they can escape politics and controversy.  Adding this new category to the Oscars does NOTHING to address the anger viewers feel when celebrities feel it necessary to express their views on controversial issues.  Until politics and social commentary are removed from the Academy Awards broadcast, it will be a challenge to bring many viewers back into the fold. 

While I understand that people with fame may feel like they have some social responsibility to use their influence to make the world a better place, it is clear that many people don't want to hear it.

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