Could the Fast and Furious Franchise Win an Oscar?

For decades the Oscars have been considered the most prestigious award any film could win, and have attracted tens of millions of viewers worldwide. Regardless of whether your favorite movie was Moonlight or LA LA Land, you could find enjoyment in the awards show.  Recently, that has changed. The 2018 Academy Awards saw a 20% drop in viewership compared to last year, and at 26.5 million viewers, the Oscars  is at its lowest popularity ever. To remedy this issue, the organizers of the event recently announced a few changes to the program, most importantly the addition of the “Outstanding Achievement in Popular Film” category. There are many who support this addition, but there are others who think this taints the credibility of the award.

The Oscars have often been criticized for being “out of touch” with the rest of society, going as far as being boycotted by many in the 2017 “#oscarssowhite” debacle. The boycott was a result of little diversity within the nominees.This year’s “Best Picture” winner, The Shape of Water, made $195 million. Compared to Black Panther ,which made $1.347 billion, it is underwhelming. Despite also being praised by critics, Black Panther earned no nominations. The change in the program would allow movies like it to be nominated, potentially raising the viewership of the award show.

Those against the change argue that the addition of the category contradicts what the Oscars stand for. Many times, movies praised by critics do not perform well in the box office, and the award is a chance to shine a light on these films. The Oscars, unlike other ceremonies such as the People’s Choice Awards, is not influenced by the popularity of a movie. While some might argue that the addition of one category won’t change the rest of the event, it could also be argued that it would alter what the award stands for: acknowledging and praising the hard work that goes into filmmaking.

Is adding the category a true solution to this issue in viewership? How many more will watch an entire three hour program so they can see which Marvel movie wins “Outstanding Achievement in Popular Film”? As mentioned before, there are already awards dedicated to acknowledging popular films, and those tend to take a completely different approach than the Oscars. The addition of this new category targets those who watch Teen Choice Awards or The MTV Movie Awards, but is that kind of viewer interested in the (let’s face it) often snobbish approach of the Oscars? This is not to say that the Academy Awards can not be funny, but it attracts a completely different audience than The MTV Movie Awards, which has a “Hottest On-Screen Kiss” category. There is a list of arguments which support both sides, but at the end of the day, we will not know the true impact of the category until the 2019 Oscars.