The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ announcement this week of a new award for “popular films” at the Oscars was met with eye-rolling and vitriol from critics and celebrities alike.
It was a vague announcement, only saying that a “new category is being designed around achievement in popular film.” We don’t exactly know what that means yet, what qualifies as a “popular” film, and what the criteria will be. Will it honor movies that made big bucks at the box office compared to their budgets? Is it an award for achievement in marketing to audiences?
We only know that a movie can compete for both the “popular film” Oscar and the traditional, coveted “best picture” award, and that it will be introduced at the next Oscars in early 2019 that honors films of this year.
At any rate, the mere thought of such a category has spawned outrage, with people arguing that a “popular” movie can be held to same standards as a best-picture contender, and that the award is offensive to the Oscars as a celebration of film achievement.
But as long as it’s actually happening, we’ll have to get used to this new award, and as more details surface, maybe it will make more sense. In a perfect world, these movies would be recognized more by the Academy without an additional award. But we don’t live in a perfect world, and as much as “Black Panther” deserves a best-picture nomination, there’s no guaranteeing that it would have gotten one.
We’ve thought about the movies so far in 2018 that could compete for such a prize, based on a traditional definition of what a “popular” movie might be — one that is a box-office success and a hit with audiences and critics alike.
Below are five movies in 2018, so far, that could be considered for the “popular film” Oscar: