And the Oscar goes to… The Avengers?
The Oscars have had their fair share of controversies in recent years: first, they were accused of being ‘so white,’ next they were accused of being sexist, then they were (and still are) knowingly glorifying sexual abusers. Now they have ruined their integrity once again in order to appease the capitalist giants.
This past week, the Academy announced that they will be including a new category to their famous award show: Outstanding Achievement in Popular Film. Essentially, Marvel movies will now be winning that shiny gold man, too. The change, which has garnered much criticism from industry professionals and twitter trolls alike, was made in order to appeal less to actual people who appreciate films and more to the ‘general audience,’ as ratings for the broadcast have been dropping over the years. Yet, to be fair, the Oscars has always been a product of capitalist Hollywood underneath their guise of artistic pretension; now it’s just out in the open for everyone to see.
The Oscars has notably refrained from including ‘blockbuster hits’ in their ceremony. Films like James Bond, Harry Potter and every superhero movie ever made have been denied Oscars because the Academy is simply too pretentious to allow box office successes to taint their subpar box office ‘arthouse’ films. The inclusion of this new category, for which the criteria for a nomination are still unclear, will ensure that billion-dollar franchise films can get even more recognition and glory for being just another average movie. But what the Academy doesn’t realise is that their integrity as an institution supporting true cinematic art was destroyed a long time ago; they might as well just add superhero films to the mix.
The Oscars think they sit on their untouchable pedestal, high above the cheap spectacle of Hollywood, supporting films that ‘truly represent the best of cinema.’ Well, that is films that are produced, directed and starring white men, that have a large marketing budget and producers with deep pockets and a strong hold over the industry (i.e. Harvey Weinstein) and that are just mainstream enough to get people somewhat interested in the films.
Of course, the films nominated for Best Picture do have artistic integrity and are genuinely good films, but is it really possible that out of the thousands of films that are released every year, the only ones that get recognition just happen to be released in November and December, starring A-list actors (who just happen to be doing an insane amount of press for the film) and that have the same creative and business teams as all the films from years previous? I smell something fishy, don’t you?
Despite their claim that they are the epitome of cinema, the Oscars have always been secretly a sham; the best thing they have done in recent years was giving Moonlight the Best Picture award (although, it does raise questions as to why it won, when a year before the institution was being assassinated for only supporting white movies). The Academy is just as much a product of Hollywood elitism as Marvel and Disney, no matter how much they say differently.
At the end of the day, the Oscars are nothing more than a popularity contest, where producers and directors throw millions upon millions of dollars into an awards campaign and parade their actors around just for a chance to win the ultimate prize. At this point, why shouldn’t the Oscars include a popular film category? They really aren’t any better than the MTV Movie Awards anyway, so they might as well own it.