And the award goes to...! Why the new Oscars popular films category is a really bad idea
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Now I love Mamma Mia as much as the next person. Let me just clear that up. Meryl Streep singing ABBA on a Greek island in her iconic dungarees is a truly magnificent image and one that I hold close to my heart. But do I consider Mamma Mia to be an Academy Award winning film? The answer is sadly no, not really. The Oscars have recently announced plans to introduce a new category to their ceremony honouring achievements in popular films, in an attempt to make the show more accessible to audiences. This decision comes in a drastic attempt by the Academy to raise viewership for the ceremony, which has been garnering lower ratings in recent years. The addition of this category would give blockbusters i.e. your Black Panther's, Mamma Mia’s and Mission Impossible's a chance at winning what is undoubtedly the most prestigious award in the film industry. On one hand it would bring a refreshing dose of diversity to see films that people actually love being honoured by the Academy. Others however feel it is wholly unnecessary and lowers the prestige of the ceremony itself. The decision has polarized critics and actors alike with Rob Lowe going so far as to tweet that the ‘film business passed away today’. Although I think this a tad extreme I have to agree with Lowe’s sentiment.
The Oscars are a ceremony supposedly honouring outstanding achievement in film. Pictures that are traditionally recognised are original, outstanding works of cinematic craftsmanship. It seems incongruous therefore that films like Mission Impossible could even be considered in the same league as say, Moonlight. One is a rehashing of a winning formula that is being repeated for the sixth time this year and the other is a groundbreaking work of cinema that stunned and amazed audiences worldwide. Seeing Tom Cruise jump out of a building is no doubt enjoyable, but an outstanding work of cinematic craftsmanship? I think not.
The film business passed away today with the announcement of the “popular” film Oscar. It had been in poor health for a number of years. It is survived by sequels, tent-poles, and vertical integration.— Rob Lowe (@RobLowe) 8 August 2018
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