On Wednesday, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences decided that the best way to bring back viewers is to create the "Best Popular Film" Oscars category. It is a move clearly designed to appeal to the masses, with the hopes that more widely seen films will be up for contention instead of art movies.
However, there are plenty of actual categories that would be much better ideas than some strange "Best Popular Film" award. In fact, some of these categories could honor the craftsmanship of these "popular" films better.
The parameters of what a "popular" film is will cause unbelievable controversy. Even the Academy has not been specific about what it will mean. After all, the entire ceremony is one big popularity contest anyway.
Scroll on for a look at some serious (and not so serious) categories the Oscars.
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Best Stunt Performer/Coordination
This is the most-needed Oscar category. Since the birth of the medium, stunt performances have been part of its DNA. In today's film world, a Stunt Performer/Coordination category would definitely go to some of the most popular films in theaters.
Do you want to finally see Tom Cruise and his team of coordinators finally get recognition for Mission: Impossible movies? Could you imagine seeing the people who stage all the fights in Marvel movies getting an Oscar? It could happen, if the Academy would finally add this category.prevnext
Casting directors have their own branch at the Academy, but there's no Best Casting for a Film category.
While directors and producers do ultimately have a say on who their leading stars are, casting directors make sure the right actors are put in front of them. They're the ones scouting for talent and matching them to the right projects.prevnext
Best Ensemble Cast
This seems like a no-brainer, especially since actors make up the largest branch. Wouldn't they want to get one more award? They already have Best Ensemble as the top award at the Screen Actors Guild Awards.
This would be a way to honor the acting in films like Moonlight or Spotlight, where it is difficult to see the line between leading and supporting.prevnext
Best Motion-Capture Performance
With so many special non-human characters being brought to the screen every year, this is no longer a category where Andy Serkis would be a guaranteed winner every year.
This is where Josh Brolin could be recognized for playing Thanos in Avengers: Infinity War, or anyone in Ready Player One. In other words, this is another category the Academy could use to honor popular films.prevnext
Best Voice Performance
Since the Academy looks down on animated films, relegating them to their own category, chances of a Best Voice Performance category are slim. However, there should be one. Voice actors in animated films and live-action films bring their characters to life.
Again, this is another category where popular films could be honored. Frank Oz could have been nominated for playing Yoda, Ben Whishaw could be nominated for voicing Paddington and all those great performances in Pixar movies could be up for an award.prevnext
Best Directorial Debut
This is an intriguing idea. Every year, there seems to be one or two breakout first films. Last year, we saw Jordan Peele's debut with Get Out and Greta Gerwig's solo debut with Lady Bird both get Best Picture nominations. Kevin Costner won Best Picture and Best Director for his debut, Dances With Wolves (1990), and Robert Redford did the same with Ordinary People (1980).
Would these films not be nominated for Best Picture if there was a Best First Film category? Possibly, but that is the same problem with the Best Popular Film idea.prevnext
Best Long-Form Documentary
After ESPN's O.J. Simpson: Made In America won the Best Documentary Feature Oscar in 2017, the Academy barred all multi-part films from competing. After all, most people saw Made In America as a TV series, not a movie.
But there is a history of long documentary films, going back to Shoah (1985) and The Sorrow And The Pity (1969). A documentary that runs more than three and a half hours could be considered for this award, and might inspire filmmakers to make more-in depth documentaries for theatrical release.prevnext
Best Animal Performance
This is part-joke, part-serious consideration. Animals have always been important to films. Warner Bros. would not exist without Rin Tin Tin and who is to say how long MGM could have lasted without Lassie.
Perhaps a serious award could be Best Animal Trainer, for someone who can get the performance from an animal that directors and producers want. It is no easy task.prevnext
Best Non-Disney Animated Film
The Best Animated Feature Oscar was introduced at the 2002 Oscars for films released in 2001 and has been controversial for a number of reasons. While the Academy has honored foreign animated films with nominations, they are rarely considered serious threats to the award.
Even more frustrating to many is the Academy's Disney bias. Since the award began, only five non-Disney/Pixar movies have won. The last one was back in 2011, when Gore Verbinski's Rango won and not a single Disney/Pixar movie was nominated. Maybe non-Disney films need their own category.prevnext
Best Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson Movie1comments
Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson is the hardest working man in show business, although it seemed like Kevin Hart was giving him a run for his money. Johnson makes so many movies every year that he could easily have a category to himself.
In 2017, he was in Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, Baywatch and The Fate of the Furious. This year, he starred in Skyscraper and Rampage. Next year, we will see him in Jungle Cruise and Jumanji 2. He even has a movie scheduled for 2020 already, Red Notice, which reunites him with Skyscraper director Rawson Marshall Thurber.prev