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Why Cancelling The Popular Film Award The Right Thing To Do For Oscars

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Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has confirmed the scrapping of Oscar’s rather amorphous award for achievement in the ‘Popular Film’ category.

“The Academy recognized that implementing any new award nine months into the year creates challenges for films that have already been released,” reads the press release, entitled “Academy determines new Oscars category merits further study.” It continues: “The Board of Governors continues to be actively engaged in discussions, and will examine and seek additional input regarding this category. There has been a wide range of reactions to the introduction of a new award, and we recognize the need for further discussion with our members,” stated the Academy CEO Dawn Hudson in a press release on September 6th, where he deftly announced the decision of the award’s cancellation, not hinting towards any of the managerial crisis that have arisen over the issue.

The entire fiasco surrounding the award, which was announced in early August, has led to sundry heated debates that have perplexed the decisiveness of the audience as to if the mothballing of the laurel was a right decision. Here are a few reasons why we think it was the right thing to do.

Quality Ahoy!

The popular film category would greatly undermine Oscar’s honest-to-goodness acclaim for sterling performers irrespective of their box office revenue. The Oscars have created for itself an incredible legacy over the years to preserve its pure judgement for good works. Currently Oscar’s Best Picture nominees can well feature box office blockbusters (like Black Panther), grossing over $ 1 billion in proceeds. And to the underrated underdogs who are only barely able to generate revenue a little better than their investment. (Think The Shape of Water, Moonlight, etc.)

In fact the last time Oscar had a top-grossing film holding its best picture award was 14 years ago, when in 2004 The Lord of The Rings: The Return of the King won 11 Oscars, including the Best Picture award. To sum it up, a popular film award (that has only indistinctly been defined) will mock the success of authentic hits. And, this will deeply harm the award’s prestige quotient.

New But Different Categories Needed In Oscars

When a film is made a team of several artists, writers, actors, directors, producers, creatives, technicians, etc. They work together in coalition to produce a masterpiece. When their work gets awarded in a specific category, several of the team members are included in the honor. But, many are also left out. To add to the dilemma, many do not even have a scope for splendor as Oscars simply fail to recognize the work they do. Stuntmen have long waited for an Oscar feature of ‘Best Stunt Coordination’, but it is highly unlikely that Oscars will introduce 2 new awards at the same time. With the popular film award getting some screen space, the undervalued craft will remain undervalued. There are single awards for Cinematography and Visual Effects, and multiple awards in the Sound category (Mixing, Editing, Score and Song Music). Before, it can go on to add other illusory honors; The Academy needs to perfect its balance here.

Blockbusters Will No Longer be in “Best Film”

The best is still the best. It is true that Oscars miss out on some blockbusters in their Best Film Category. When nominating flicks, the priority is given to Oscar’s favorite genres: history, romance, musicals; and the modernly fueled movies are often left out. However, with the introduction of Oscar’s popular film category, blockbusters will have a greater lack of representation in the Best Picture category.
Oscar’s criterion for Best Picture is vague, The Dark Knight’ tremendous critical and pecuniary success could not score it a Best Picture nomination, probably because it was a superhero film. The Oscars needs to reinvent the yardstick of its Best Picture category to allow a more competitive analysis, propelling the most deserving feature to warrant the Best Picture award.

To stand-out in an era of dismal TV ratings, while educating the audience over the essence of true art, The Oscars need to evolve differently. The move of revoking the award maybe upturned in the future, but it would only diminish the quality of the awards, to just another award show.

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