In 2018 we saw The Academy Awards present their 90th ceremony, celebrating filmmaking and all its participants. An Oscar is one of the most well regarded awards that anyone in the movie making business can receive and likely will be for many years to come. The Academy follows a set of strict rules and high standards in regards to which films it selects for its nominees over all its categories. Many films will never achieve the recognition that some feel they deserve, especially when currently blockbuster movies are dominating the market, costing millions to make and usually making even more in return. Whether you like them or not they are a huge part of the current social climate, so shouldn’t they be recognised? With this in mind the Academy Awards will see a new category added to the current roster, that category is ‘Outstanding Achievement in Popular Film’.
Over the years the Academy have often been given criticism for their exclusion of popular films, perhaps the most notable being Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight which was both critically acclaimed and a box office giant. Many believed that the film should have been nominated for ‘Best Picture’ but felt it was likely shunned due to its genre. Heath Ledger did however receive a nomination for his part in the film which he went on to win, though it was widely believed that this win was given due to the backlash of the previous decision. They later changed the total number of nominees for best picture from five to ten in order to make room for other films that may not usually be considered.
Obviously though this was still not enough, so this coming year, in hopes to please the masses we shall see the new category in all its glory. It may seem like an odd move at first, an awarding body so well known for their stringent standards making such concessions, however it seems to be a move made to boost the viewership of the ceremony, keeping it relevant and (more importantly) driving up advertisement prices. When popular films are nominated for awards more people tune in, when Titanic was nominated for ‘Best Picture’ at the 70th Academy Awards in 1998 57.25 million people tuned in. A lower but still impressive 43.56 million viewed the ceremony when Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King was nominated for eleven awards during the 76th academy awards.
It’s likely that the category nominees will be filled with a series of superhero movies with Black Panther already being the bookies favourite to win before any have even been announced. To be honest I’m inclined to agree, though perhaps the film on a base level is of a similar quality to most Marvel movies (which isn’t bad) its cultural importance cannot be either denied or ignored, the film is a long overdue milestone for equality in filmmaking. Other films likely to be nominated are Avengers: Infinity War, the latest entry in the Mission Impossible franchise and perhaps Incredibles 2, though the year is not out yet and there are plenty more films to come so keep your eyes peeled for the next outstanding popular film.