And the Oscar goes to … the Everyman.
That is, the average person who watches and enjoys summer blockbusters, a cop-buddy comedy or a good sci-fi thriller.
They might be movies made for the masses, but they rack up big dollars at the box office and sometimes produce a piece of dialogue that becomes part of the lexicon a la “Back to the Future” and its famous: “Roads? Where we’re going, we don’t need roads.”
Yet, these are the types of films typically ignored during the annual snorefest they call the Academy Awards.
While Hollywood’s obnoxious awards season is still months away, a significant piece of news emerged on that front last week.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (even the group’s name sounds snobby) announced it would offer an Oscar in the brand-new category of “Achievement in Popular Film.”
In other words, it is going to start honoring movies that people actually watch.
Well, the folks at the Academy have finally paid a bitter price as far as ratings go for their out-of-touch tastes.
To be fair, “Back to the Future” — universally acknowledged as a classic — did win an Oscar for Best Sound Editing.
But a movie like that or any of the ultra-popular superhero movies, or (gasp!) a James Bond film or Star Wars reboot is simply not artsy or pompous enough to even sniff around in the neighborhood inhabited by those films nominated for Best Picture.
And something stinks about that.
So, more and more people have tuned out rather than tune in. (We know political preferences and the star power of the host play a part, too.)
This year’s Oscars telecast hit an all-time low with only 26.5 million viewers, a 19 percent drop from 2017 numbers, according to The Hollywood Reporter. And it gets even bleaker for the Academy when you consider the most recent show’s viewership was almost 40 percent less than what the 2014 telecast drew.
It was clear to everyone, then, that changes were needed.
The Academy finally got the message and is now trying to appeal to a wider audience by featuring movies that drew a wide audience.
Yeah, you don’t need a genius to figure that one out.
Yet it took this long to get to this point.
Predictably, some outlets have continued to throw punches at poor Oscar.
The New York Post wrote: “By creating some kind of popular consolation prize, the Academy is trying to seem more hip and with-it, and probably get more eyeballs for the telecast. Instead, it just reveals how elitist, condescending and out of touch they really are. Here’s an idea: If there’s a movie that’s popular and also really good, just give it the damn award!”
But let’s give at least some credit to the people who make the decisions at La La Land’s biggest red-carpet display.
They’re finally recognizing the average moviegoer is too busy trying to make a living to sit around for an hour and try to figure out the infamous ending to 2015 Best Picture winner “Birdman.” (We still can’t make heads or tails of it!)
No, the average Joe plunks down his hard-earned dollar at the local multiplex to enjoy some laughs, see some neat special effects, or be wowed by Hollywood’s latest It Girl.
And there’s not a thing wrong with that. As a bonus, some of those movies have good plots, too.
On behalf of all the little people out there who don’t usually watch films with subtitles, we thank the Academy for finally acknowledging us.
— Times Leader