Oscars create “blockbuster film” category

The  New York Times reports that, because of waning interest in the televised Academy Awards, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is creating a new category for Oscars: an award for “outstanding achievement in popular films.” As the paper reports below, part of this decision also reflects the public’s lack of interest in the winning films, which tend to be arcane (i.e. GOOD), like last year’s Best Picture winner: “The Shape of Water”. (That movie got a 92% critics’ rating but only a 73% audience rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and I haven’t seen it.)

As the paper reports, big-money blockbusters are ignored in favor of these “niche films”, and so, to lure television audiences who like blockbusters, we have a new category.

Whether its remedies are the correct ones or not, the academy had to take some kind of action: The Oscars are increasingly out of touch. A record low of 26.5 million people watched this year’s telecast, a nearly 20 percent drop from a year earlier. As recently as four years ago, the Academy Awards had an audience of 43.7 million viewers.

“We have heard from many of you about improvements needed to keep the Oscars and our academy relevant in a changing world,” Mr. Bailey wrote. “The Board of Governors took this charge seriously.”

. . . Reasons for the Oscars’ decline abound — the general fragmentation of the media landscape is one — but the central complaints have been about the telecast’s marathon length and increasing tendency to honor niche films that the majority of American moviegoers have not seen. Last year’s best picture winner, “The Shape of Water,” had sold about $60 million in tickets at the time after playing in theaters for 14 weeks.

“Black Panther,” by comparison, took in $202 million over its first three days in North American theaters alone.

In 2009, the academy tried to make room for more widely seen films by doubling the number of potential nominees for the best-picture award to 10 from five. That shift occurred after “The Dark Knight,” a critically acclaimed superhero film, was shut out of the best-picture category, despite receiving nominations in eight others and winning in two.

But allowing more best-picture nominations did little to solve the problem. For the most part, moviedom’s elite continued to bypass films with large audiences and simply put forward additional niche ones.

I don’t like this change. For one thing, the Academy notes that movies nominated for the “Popular Picture” category could also be nominated for the “Best Picture” category, leading to confusion about what differentiates the two. Is it the box office? Some nebulous assessment of the quality? Why should popularity be weighed at all in assessing quality? Or is quality not an issue in this category? If it is, then does the “popular picture” category amount to “movies that aren’t as good as those in the other category, but which audiences liked more?”

To me, the Academy should be a leader in promoting good films, not a slavish follower of box office and public taste. After all, look at the awards for books: the Pulitzer Prizes, the Booker Awards, and the Nobel Prizes for Literature. Many of these involve arcane authors not widely read by the general public. Indeed, only 72% of Americans even read a single book in 2015, that number is declining, and the books read are more likely to be mysteries, self-help books, or pablum like Eat, Pray, Love than the kind of books that garner the awards. (Yes, I know somebody’s going to defend Elizabeth Gilbert’s book.)

The awards, especially the Pulitzers and even more the Booker awards, have led me to a lot of great reading. My goal is to read every book that wins a Booker, and I’m trying to catch up. Those awards, for example, directed me to masterpieces like Pat Barker’s The Ghost Road trilogy and Ishiguro’s The Remains of the Day. The Pulitzer Prizes for Fiction and Nonfiction have focused my eyes on even more great books, including The Known World and The Hours in fiction and The Looming Tower and The Making of the Atomic Bomb in nonfiction. The list is long.  Imagine if “popular” books were given these prizes!

Some film critics and writers agree; here are two highlighted in the Times piece:

Call me an elitist, if you will, but realize that I don’t believe that some books are better than others by objective standards. But I do think that some books are better than others by consensus of the public who loves literature (including those who read more than a few books a year)—and that holds for movies as well. Awards that pander to popular taste, best sellers, and blockbusters do not improve our experience of art, but only suppresses and obscures how great art can be.

Feel free, of course, to weigh in below.

70 Comments

  1. Jon Gallant
    Posted August 12, 2018 at 10:51 am | Permalink

    My own organization, the Academy of Awesomeness, is lobbying the Swedish academies to establish a similar Popular category in the annual Nobel Prizes. Nominees for the Popular Science prize in future years include Deepak Chopra, Tony Stark (also known as Iron Man), and that guy on NPR who always lectures about getting a super brain through micronutrients and his book. (I can’t remember his name this AM, probably for lack of micronutrients.)

  2. Ken Kukec
    Posted August 12, 2018 at 10:54 am | Permalink

    Ugh.

  3. Randall Schenck
    Posted August 12, 2018 at 11:00 am | Permalink

    I suspect the awards and award shows are part of the publicity, the advertising and otherwise, make little sense. I would agree with George Scott who was a no show. It is not a contest between people or movies so the awards are just a faulty idea.

    Is it suppose to be an art or a sport? With many movies today it is hard to say.

  4. BobTerrace
    Posted August 12, 2018 at 11:00 am | Permalink

    I’ve never liked award shows for film, TV, music, etc. There are enough reviewers around to be able to tell if one wants to view a performance. Rating one against another is arbitrary, in my opinion. One could rate whether grapes are better than cherries or avocados. A pointless activity.

  5. Pierluigi Ballabeni
    Posted August 12, 2018 at 11:08 am | Permalink

    I thought Oscar winning films were already blockbusters. They are surely not niche films. Millions of people watch them all over the world and they outcompete economically (not necessarily in quality) all what is made in most of the world.

    • Pierluigi Ballabeni
      Posted August 12, 2018 at 11:19 am | Permalink

      What I mean is that films that wins Oscars were already well known and had large audiences before thy get the Oscar. It is not like descovering a piece of arts nobody had heard of before.

  6. Janet
    Posted August 12, 2018 at 11:08 am | Permalink

    One of the tweets I saw about this was ‘There is already an award for a popular film. It is called money.’

    • Pierluigi Ballabeni
      Posted August 12, 2018 at 11:23 am | Permalink

      I seldomly watch American movies but I have been reading for decades that Oscar winners are always commercial movies anyway, inedependently from their quality.

      • mikeyc
        Posted August 12, 2018 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

        “Commercial” movies? You mean “for profit? Well, yeah, they pretty much all are.
        But I think you meant commercial success, in the sense of big money makers. But that’s not always true either. For example, when “The Artist” won best picture in 2012 it was the lowest grossing film of any nominated that year (of course after winning it earned buckets more).

        One thing that I dislike about awards like the Oscars is that it’s kind of like saying what’s your favorite book or your favorite song – the winner is often difficult to justify given the possibilities.

  7. BJ
    Posted August 12, 2018 at 11:12 am | Permalink

    We should start putting covers from Vogue magazine and pictures from TMZ photographers in museums. Klimt and Gauguin just aren’t that popular these days.

    Not that I give a shit about the Oscars. Fuck em all. I just care what this says about society and the arts in general.

  8. BJ
    Posted August 12, 2018 at 11:15 am | Permalink

    You know why they did this? Black Panther. At last Oscars, the movie that was talked about and shown the most by far during the entire run of the program was BP, even though it wasn’t technically part of that year’s Oscars as it was released later than that year’s window. BP is part of this year’s Oscars, and now it can get at least one award. And since BP is the greatest thing since sliced bread, get ready to hear and see even more of it than you did last year (that is, if you watch the Oscars. I don’t, but I saw a compilation of all the times BP was shown and mentioned last year).

  9. mfdempsey1946
    Posted August 12, 2018 at 11:17 am | Permalink

    Unless it is rescinded in response to widespread and justified ridicule, this change will finish the relevance of the Academy Awards once and for all, at least for anybody who cares about quality filmmaking or, indeed, anybody with half a functioning brain.

    How, for instance, is one supposed to determine whether or not a film is “popular” or “a blockbuster” without seeing the its closely guarded financial statements?

    For instance, I once got a look at a quarterly statement for one of the “Harry Potter” movies. By that point in its release, this picture had grossed, if memory serves, $162 million in the US-Canadian marketplace, with many weeks of theatrical release still to come.

    Yet the financial statement declared that it was still in the red, thanks to cross-collateralization of its budget (in Hollywood, “budget” means whatever a movie ends up costing) with the budgets and grosses of other movies that were evidently box office flops. Not to mention other legality-skirting accounting tricks designed to cheat profit sharers of additional payments owed to them.

    This is why Eddie Murphy (who should know) once referred to “net points” (profit shares in Hollywood movies) as “monkey points” that would never be paid out because no Hollywood movie ever truly makes a profit, as far as profit-sharers are concerned.

    It is also why my screenwriter friend, the late Alexander Jacobs (who wrote, among other movies, director John Boorman’s dazzling Lee Marvin thriller “Point Blank”), upon being asked by someone after a university presentation if it was better to take your full fee up front or wait for a share of the profits instead, replied: “Get your money up front. They’re all crooks.”

    • BJ
      Posted August 12, 2018 at 11:24 am | Permalink

      “How, for instance, is one supposed to determine whether or not a film is “popular” or “a blockbuster” without seeing the its closely guarded financial statements?”

      It will the movies that get the most media coverage for being diverse, progressive, feminist, anti-racist, etc. That’s what the function of this award will be. I would make a $50 bet on it.

      It’s not like it’s going to Transformers 12: Bumblebee Tuna

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted August 12, 2018 at 4:32 pm | Permalink

        I think you give Hollywood too much credit, BJ. It’s more likely the Academy will reward films that have put big bucks in studio coffers (which will fund massive publicity campaigns for the award), there to filter out to the Academy members.

        The Hollywood system’s commitment to social justice pales in comparison to its commitment to the bottom line.

        • BJ
          Posted August 12, 2018 at 6:03 pm | Permalink

          Absolutely. They’re intertwined. Hollywood loves social justice now because it’s good PR and gets them plenty of plaudits.

        • BJ
          Posted August 12, 2018 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

          By the way, did you see my response about The Guard? https://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/2018/08/11/alexandria-ocasio-cortez-another-lionized-democrat-cozying-up-to-anti-semites/#comment-1644634

          PLEASE tell me once you’ve watched War On Everyone. I can’t wait to read what you have to say. Seriously, I’m actually excited.

          • Ken Kukec
            Posted August 12, 2018 at 7:18 pm | Permalink

            I saw your response this morning. Will let you know when I see War on Everyone.

            I saw a really good movie at the theater yesterday, Eighth Grade. Teenage comedies aren’t generally in my wheelhouse, but this was something special. Not so much a comedy, actually, as a meditation on early teenage discomfort. It didn’t reach for its humor, but found it in very true-to-life situations. The writing was exceptional, and I can’t say enough about the lead performance by a teenage girl named Elsie Fisher. Not a false note in it.

            I’d put it in the top two feature films I’ve seen this year, along with First Reformed — the pure, distilled essence of Paul Schrader, complete with nods to some of his earlier work (including his screenplay for Taxi Driver). It’s the most stark film I’ve seen in a long time — no score or soundtrack, minimalist sets, outdoor locations among the bare trees of upstate NY in the wintertime — but gorgeous in its starkness. Goes a bit magical realism in the third reel, but it’s unlike anything I’ve seen before, which is something I always look for.

            You should see them both, if you get the chance.

            • BJ
              Posted August 12, 2018 at 8:06 pm | Permalink

              I was planning on seeing Eighth Grade because it’s Bo Burnham’s debut as a writer/director, and I’m a big fan of his standup comedy.

              Funny you should mention Schrader. I watched Hardcore yesterday for the first time in several years, and I just watched the first half of Auto Focus (which I’ve also seen before) while I was taking a bath just now. I’ve never been able to get a hold of a widescreen copy of Light Sleeper, though, so I haven’t seen it yet. I won’t watch any movie in 4:3 unless it was intended to be that way 🙂

              Schrader has certainly directed some very good movies, but man does he have one of the best résumés around as a writer!

              • Merilee
                Posted August 12, 2018 at 8:18 pm | Permalink

                I like what I’ve heard and read and seen of Bo Burnham so will probably see 8th Grade as well.

              • BJ
                Posted August 12, 2018 at 8:22 pm | Permalink

                Have you seen his special, What.? I loved it. Then again, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a Bo Burnham special I didn’t like.

              • Ken Kukec
                Posted August 12, 2018 at 9:34 pm | Permalink

                Sorry, but watching Auto Focus (of all movies) in the bathtub is just freakin’ weird. 🙂

              • BJ
                Posted August 12, 2018 at 11:30 pm | Permalink

                That was the least weird part of my bath today.

            • BJ
              Posted August 12, 2018 at 8:20 pm | Permalink

              By the way, while we’re on the subject of The Oscars, what makes a movie worthy of awards, etc.: I usually don’t like blockbuster, nor do I like many of the films that normally end up receiving Oscar nominations. All of this is to bring up my greatest filmic source of agita and rage in recent years: Boyhood. Fuck me did that movie suck. I squirmed through every ponderous minute of it.

              • Merilee
                Posted August 12, 2018 at 8:29 pm | Permalink

                Dare I say that I loved Boyhood?

              • BJ
                Posted August 12, 2018 at 11:30 pm | Permalink

                Dare! Dare like eagles soar! I’m apparently one of the few people who loathed it.

    • Posted August 12, 2018 at 11:37 am | Permalink

      As I understand it, this practice of hiding profits also drives stars to create their own production companies.

    • Posted August 12, 2018 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

      Winston Groom wrote a novel that he sold to a film production company for a deal that included a 3% share in the profits. Unfortunately the film bombed badly enough that it made a loss of $62 million. So he sued the film maker because the film had grossed nearly $700 million.

  10. E.A. Blair
    Posted August 12, 2018 at 11:18 am | Permalink

    So many movies are just “…honest stories of working people as told by rich Hollywood stars”.* I don’t think I’ve ever watched an award show (although I have attended two Hugo Awards ceremonies), mosly because I have little patience with a bunch of celebreties congratulating each other and themselves.

    I have, however, seen a clip of what may be the best Oscar acceptance speech ever. Comedian Stephen Wright shared the Oscar for best short film The Appointments of Dennis Jennings (1988). When he stepped up to the podium, he looked at his co-producer, David Picker, and said, “I guess it’s a good idea we cut out that other hour and a half. Thank you.” And that was it.

    *Kudos to anyone who gets the reference.

    • freiner
      Posted August 12, 2018 at 11:34 am | Permalink

      * No idea what you’re talking about. Now where did I put those pliers?

  11. Mark A Clements
    Posted August 12, 2018 at 11:20 am | Permalink

    When I was in art school, struggling to find my own aesthetic approach to painting, a professor pulled me aside and said this: “If anyone other than another artist can understand or appreciate your work, then it’s not art.”

    Well, there’s one response to the perpetual art school question, “What is art?” If the professor’s answer is useful or correct, then I guess none of us should care what some smarmy “critic” has to say on the topic. (I know I don’t). On the other hand, if the definition is wrong, then I guess we’re supposed to trust…artists? Or, heaven forbid, our own subjective preferences?

    It’s like discussing philosophy.

    But here’s one thought to consider:

    Numerous Best Picture winners were based on novels that were themselves never considered for literary awards such as Pulitzers or Bookers (can you say “The Godfather?”). What does this tell us about the supposedly detectable schism between “great art” and “popular schlock?”

    • Posted August 13, 2018 at 9:01 am | Permalink

      “If the professor’s answer is useful or correct”

      It sounds like utter BS to me.

  12. freiner
    Posted August 12, 2018 at 11:26 am | Permalink

    Somewhere or other Truffaut referred to certain movies as “Oscar machines.” Now it looks like we have an explicit category for them (apart from the already existing category he was talking about).

  13. JonLynnHarvey
    Posted August 12, 2018 at 11:33 am | Permalink

    The Academy has several odd rules:

    Only one best foreign film nominee per country- these also can get nominated for best film.

    Nominee for best score has to have clocked in more music for the film than recycled music in same film, disqualifying Vivian Kubrick’s haunting music for her father’s “Full Metal Jacket” because the period songs by the Rolling Stones, Nancy Sinatra, etc. clocked in at a few more minutes.

    How does one qualify as a “popular film”?

    =-=-=

    The 1990s was a banner decade for book length parodies of other books including “The Philistine Prophecy”- a parody of “The Celestine Prophecy”, “The Ditches of Edison County”, etc.
    However, in the 2000’s we got “Drink, Play, F-ck: One Man’s Search for Anything Across Ireland, Vegas and Thailand.”

  14. Posted August 12, 2018 at 11:33 am | Permalink

    While I agree that works of art can be compared objectively, it is by nature a fuzzy thing. Just think of the many kinds of film and the various aspects by which they can be judged. While the Academy Awards has many judgement categories, they will never have enough and there will always be films that excel in ways that are not covered by these awards. Actually, I don’t really like awards shows for this and many other reasons.

    If a movie is popular, it does indicate something about the movie. It is a skill to please people and come out on top. That skill should be rewarded as much as, say, original score.

  15. Posted August 12, 2018 at 11:41 am | Permalink

    Just wanted to mention that “The Looming Tower” was made into an excellent TV adaptation on Hulu starring Jeff Daniels. It consists of eight one-hour episodes.

    https://www.imdb.com/title/tt6474236/

    I didn’t read the book so can’t comment on how faithful to it the series is.

    • Merilee
      Posted August 12, 2018 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

      Got the book and the series on my read/watch lists. The series is available on Netflix.

      • Posted August 12, 2018 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

        When I read your comment, I thought I had perhaps gotten it wrong so I checked. A search on the Netflix website does not bring up Looming Tower. Perhaps it is available on Netflix outside the US? It is definitely a Hulu original series.

        • Michael Fisher
          Posted August 12, 2018 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

          The Looming Tower 10-part mini-series is available ‘free’ to stream on Amazon Prime everywhere except the USA according to the Wiki for it & yet I can see it on Amazon.com, but maybe “.com” knows I’m not in the USA. It came out in Canada on March 1st on Amazon Prime.

          I suppose the official source in the USA is Hulu

          I don’t think it’s available anywhere on NetFlix

          I think it’s the best TV series I’ve watched this year. Grim, tense & frustrating – the latter being my reaction to the inertia of the various agencies & the lack of genuine inter-agency cooperation. Turf protection before national security. A must watch, as they say!

          • Merilee
            Posted August 12, 2018 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

            Yes,Michael, I waswrong: Amazon prime, not Netflix🙀

  16. DrBrydon
    Posted August 12, 2018 at 11:42 am | Permalink

    The Academy Awards, as awards, have always had their problems with the attitude of the Academy members about what should be honored (and should not), with an increasing bias against popular movies and comedies. When you look at previous years’ winners and nominees for Best Picture since the 70s, you can see that in many cases the winners have not stood the test of time. The award show itself (Passover, as it was called in the Bob Hope household) is increasingly tedious to watch, too long, with poor hosts and too much politics. As for myself, though, I think I have reached a time in life when so many new movies just appear to be derivative, and the young stars so bland, that I often haven’t seen most of the movies in any major category. I think ultimately, though, the problem may be that we are all inundated with celebrities, so another show doesn’t mean much.

  17. drew
    Posted August 12, 2018 at 11:57 am | Permalink

    They already have an award for the biggest blockbuster movie.

    It’s called “money”.

  18. Steve Gerrard
    Posted August 12, 2018 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

    I am amused by the last two words of the headline: ‘Oscars to Add ‘Popular Film’ Category, Creating Questions.” It is a nice variant on the “views differ” meme.

    The Academy Awards have always been about Hollywood, and this seems to me to fit right in. They want to have a show and give each other awards, and I am okay with that. I don’t watch it, of course, but to each their own.

  19. Merilee
    Posted August 12, 2018 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

    I’ve been reading all the Booker shortlisters (6/year) for the past ten years or so am finding them to be more and more a mixed bag. Hated last year’s winner, “Lincoln in the Bardo”, but am liking Paul Auster’s doorstopper “4321”, in which I am on page 500 of 866.

  20. Posted August 12, 2018 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

    I suspect Oscar ratings are declining because of the constant and increasing far-Left rants from hosts and award recipients. People are getting sick of that crap.

  21. Posted August 12, 2018 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

    Since the alternative to rewarding popular films has become the virtue signalling of whatever the issue of the year is I don’t have a problem with awards going for films that fund other people’s vanity projects.

    Maybe if we’d had it in previous years Hitchcock wouldn’t have been ignored.

  22. Harrison
    Posted August 12, 2018 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

    I see people criticizing this as though we lived in a world where the Oscars were actually meritorious. But that hasn’t been the case for a very long time if indeed it ever was.

    When awful dreck like Crash can boast a Best Picture win and the term “Oscar bait” is ingrained in popular culture, I’d argue that the effect the awards have had in propping up dud films while sneering at anything popular has been studios either deciding to make melodrama or popular trash. Because you can either get an award or make a lot of money but rarely both.

    Now people might be incentivized to make good popular films again. We used to have those once upon a time.

  23. Blue
    Posted August 12, 2018 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

    in re “or pablum like Eat, Pray, Love than
    the kind of books that garner the awards.
    (Yes, I know somebody’s going to defend
    Elizabeth Gilbert’s book.)”

    NOT me. “pablum” is
    the perfect noun for
    this muck: written – or in film – format.

    Blue

    • E.A. Blair
      Posted August 12, 2018 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

      Pablum™ is a trademarked brand name. The trademark was registered in 1931 by the Mead Johnson company for the first precooked baby food sold in dry form. The trademark is now owned by the H.J. Heinz company.

      The correct generic form is pabulum, which is Latin for “food” or “nourishment”, and is the word from which the brand name was derived.

      If you ever read trade magazines for writers, you’ll see ads from companies asking that their name brands not be used as generic terms. That’s how I found out the difference between Pablum™ and pabulum.

  24. allison
    Posted August 12, 2018 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

    or pablum like Eat, Pray, Love than the kind of books that garner the awards. (Yes, I know somebody’s going to defend Elizabeth Gilbert’s book.)

    Haha, okay, I’ll do it…I thought it was a pretty good book; it made me think about what we value in our lives, and the travel aspects were interesting. I knew little about Bali before reading Gilbert’s book but I can now see that it’s probably one of the most interesting places in the world.

    There was something disagreeable about the author/narrator, though; perhaps her moaning about how empty her life is as she jaunts off to spend a year on paid vacation in fabulous exotic locations.

  25. Brujo Feo
    Posted August 12, 2018 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

    “Yes, I know somebody’s going to defend Elizabeth Gilbert’s book.”

    HERE???

    Oh, say it ain’t so!

  26. Posted August 12, 2018 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

    Having an award that merely says the most popular movie of the year isn’t a bad idea. When I was a kid I was required to read Newbury award winning books and I usually hated them and found them more boring than the popular books aimed more art kids than English teachers who read books that are just trying to win the award with certain progressive adult themes and prose, and which are only nominally aimed at kids.

    • Merilee
      Posted August 12, 2018 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

      The Toronto International Film Festival always has a People’s Choice Award which we vote for with our ticket stubs. The winners are often not my favorites, but last year the wonderful Three Billboards Outside Epping Missouri did win.

      • Blue
        Posted August 12, 2018 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

        O ! Ms Merilee ! Wonderful, indeed ! SMASHING, I say !

        ” Y’know what I was thinking about today? I was thinking ’bout those street gangs they had down in Los Angeles, those Crips and those Bloods? I was thinking about that buncha new laws they came up with, in the 1980’s I think it was, to combat those street-gangs, those Crips and those Bloods. And, if I remember rightly, the gist of what those new laws were saying was if you join one of these gangs, and you’re running with ’em, and down the block one night, unbeknownst to you, one of your fellow Crips, or your fellow Bloods, shoot up a place, or stab a guy, well then, even though you didn’t know nothing about it, and even though you may’ve just been standing on a streetcorner minding your own business, what these new laws said was you’re still culpable. You’re still culpable, by the very act of joining those Crips, or those Bloods, in the first place. Which got me thinking, Father, that whole type of situation is kinda like your Church boys, ain’t it? You’ve got your collars, you’ve got your clubhouse, you’re, for want of a better word, a gang. And if you’re upstairs smoking a pipe and reading a bible while one of your fellow gang members is downstairs fucking an altar boy then, Father, just like those Crips, and just like those Bloods, you’re culpable. Cos you joined the gang, man. And I don’t care if you never did shit or you never saw shit or you never heard shit. You joined the gang. You’re culpable. And when a person is culpable to altar-boy-fucking, or any kinda boy-fucking, I know you guys didn’t really narrow that down, then they kinda forfeit the right to come into my house and say anything about me, or my life, or my daughter, or my billboards. SO, WHY DON’T YOU JUST FINISH YOUR TEA THERE, FATHER, AND GET THE FUCK OUTTA MY KITCHEN.”

        Blue

        • mikeyc
          Posted August 12, 2018 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

          The most epic of epic take downs and no one could do it better than McDormand.

          • Blue
            Posted August 12, 2018 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

            O ! AGREED, Mr mikeyc ! Yours = perfect descriptor thereof … …
            this statement rendered by .The. F A B U Frances !

            Blue

          • Merilee
            Posted August 12, 2018 at 11:45 pm | Permalink

            ❗️❗️

  27. SnowyOwl
    Posted August 12, 2018 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

    They tried 10 for best picture… it didn’t work right.
    I think this is the thing to do. Let’s see.

  28. Posted August 12, 2018 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

    Anyone who’s heard Martin Scorsese gushing over Hammer horror films knows that the truly great directors don’t make a clear distinction between elite and popular art.

    Guillermo deal Toro (director of The Shape of Water) also directed Hellboy, Hellboy 2 and Pacific Rim. He’s a real comic book fanboy with a huge collection of manga and anime.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted August 12, 2018 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

      “… the truly great directors don’t make a clear distinction between elite and popular art.”

      And neither should the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences (or anyone else for that matter).

  29. eric
    Posted August 12, 2018 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

    I don’t like this change.

    Me neither; I fully agree with the argument that giving awards to high quality movies promotes going to see them.

    The Oscars don’t need to give this award; there are tens if not hundreds of other movie awards that can give it.

    However, I do agree with shortening the show. 3+ hours for information content that can be read in about 30 seconds???? That’s pretty much the poster child for narcissism. Yes, give the award winners a chance to speak and have their moment in the sun. Sure. But there’s 24 awards. Give each 20 seconds for introduction, 1.5 minutes for the speech, 10 seconds for the on and off stage movement, you can do entire show program in 48 minutes and still have enough commercial time to fill out an hour long slot.

  30. James Walker
    Posted August 12, 2018 at 7:23 pm | Permalink

    I don’t know, I have pretty wide-ranging tastes in reading and I find that books end up on awards lists for the same reasons that movies end up on the Oscars, which often has more to do with trends or reputation rather than artistic merit.

    For me there’s no guarantee that I’ll like a movie or book just because some group gave it an award. I’ve been unable to make it through critically acclaimed books/movies and have loved books/movies that completely flew under the radar or were panned by critics.

    I also try to avoid the (elitist?) notion that just because something is a box office or bookstore success it must not have any artistic merit.

  31. Posted August 12, 2018 at 8:02 pm | Permalink

    The rationale is transparent. Black Panther simply must win a best picture award, but won’t unless they stuff the ballot box — or create a new award.

  32. Christopher
    Posted August 12, 2018 at 10:36 pm | Permalink

    I don’t have much use for award shows, no matter what the category or movie. I long ago lost any interest is watching rich a-holes patting themselves on the back. But I could just be jaded. I’m trying to watch ch The Shape of Water right now and frankly I’m bored outta my skull. I think popular culture has left me behind. Let ‘em hand out little statues to every damn superhero movie that sucks the hard earned dough out of kids’ parents pockets, I won’t be watching anyway.

  33. Bob
    Posted August 13, 2018 at 8:02 am | Permalink

    I don’t have much to say about films today, as the last time I was in a movie theater was in 1980 when I took my sons to see Young Frankenstein. Of course, I have watched an occasional movie on HBO, Showtime or one of the other premium channels on television, but my fall back it still TCM.

    Hollywood lost me when they discovered car crashes as a plot device.

  34. Posted August 13, 2018 at 9:19 am | Permalink

    If the problem they are trying to fix is declining audiences for the show then the addition of another award cannot be the answer. The show is way too long, and extremely tedious. Why show it at all? I’m pretty sure that the films that win Oscars and those that are nominated would still get the intended audience boost if the ceremony were not televised. The gossip magazines and tv channels could still show the frocks on the red carpet before the ceremony and the happy winners brandishing their statuettes afterwards but – really – who wants to watch three hours of the show itself?

  35. yazikus
    Posted August 13, 2018 at 10:55 am | Permalink

    Indeed, only 72% of Americans even read a single book in 2015, that number is declining

    Good lord, that is terrifying. I know it can be tricky to set aside leisure time for reading, but not even a single book in a whole year?

    • E.A. Blair
      Posted August 13, 2018 at 11:29 am | Permalink

      By contrast, I read at least 72 books a year, if not more. I do a lot of bus riding (no car) and always take a book with me. On the other hand, I don’t have a smartphone. I was at a bus stop at the UW-M campus, and I counted twenty-eight people at the same stop. I was the only one reading a book; all but one of the other twenty-seven had their noses to their smartphone screens. Why read when you have the internet?

      “Suppose twenty years ago Congress had proposed a law saying every citizen had to wear a radio transponder around his neck, all day and all night, so the government could track him wherever he went. Can you imagine the outrage? But instead the citizens went right ahead and did it to themselves. In their pockets and purses, not around their necks, but the outcome is the same.”

      — Lee Child, from A Wanted Man

      • Posted August 13, 2018 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

        To be fair, some of those people at the bus stop might be reading books on the Kindle app or similar. I carry about 150 books with me wherever I go, and read them at nearly every full stop. (Though, in all honestly, based on my observations, you’re probably correct in assuming that most or all of those people are NOT reading books.)

        • Posted August 13, 2018 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

          I agree. While I still prefer paper books, my wife often reads books on a tablet. I suspect that many of my friends do as well.

          There is also a lot of worthwhile content on the internet. There are lots of serious blogs like WEIT and serious articles on news websites. The internet is not at all all about people sniping at each other. It’s amazing what is online these days. Anyone who doesn’t partake is missing out and, dare I say it, out of touch.


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