Hollywood’s self-congratulatory season will be starting soon (the Emmys are in mid-September). After the lowest ratings since the ceremonies were put on television, the Oscars think they are going to give the viewers what they want: an award for movies that people have actually seen.
Nevermind that perhaps viewers don’t appreciate being called racist, sexist, misogynist, stupid, war-mongering, violent and out-of-touch by celebrities that with their own actions and tweets show that they are racist, sexist, misogynist, stupid and out-of-touch. And that insult-fest shows no signs of slowing down heading into this year’s awards season.
But the Academy of Motion Pictures and Arts thinks the average American will sit through all of that if there is a possibility that one of the endless series of superhero movies might actually win a “major award”. Therefore they have created the “Best Achievement in Popular Film” category. Ostensibly, this is for the summer blockbuster that featured no real plot, terrible acting by second-rate performers, a ton of computer-generated action and extremely loud sound effects and soundtrack.
It’s like the Academy admits that the movies they think are the best examples of cinematic excellence are also all box office flops. How many people actually saw The Shape of Water? Or Birdman, Spotlight, Moonlight, The Artist, Argo, 12 Years a Slave and The King’s Speech? Those are the Best Picture winners this decade. I have seen exactly ZERO.
It should be pointed out that the studios themselves are the ones that submit the films and acting performances honored by the Academy. There is nothing stopping them from submitting X-Men, or Spiderman, or whatever movie features The Rock blowing up a bunch of stuff for 90-minutes for “Best Picture”–well other than embarrassment. You may recall, the Academy doubled the number of nominees for Best Picture a few years ago in hopes of getting more popular fare nominated–but all that led to was more obscure films that could claim to be “Nominated for Best Picture” on their Netflix description a month after being released.
Maybe this desperate grab at ratings for a three-hour snoozefest will work and more people will tune in to see if a movie their teenagers went to see might win an Oscar. But I’m guessing that remote will be changing the channel as soon as the winning director starts talking about #metoo and the President’s twitter account.