[guest post by JVW]
The Motion Picture Academy of America, the folks who bring you the cringeworthy orgy of self-congratulation known as the Academy Awards Ceremony, have announced plans to institute a new “Best Popular Picture” Oscar at some as-of-yet undetermined time down the road. This would of course allow Star Wars: Revenge of the Merchandising Division and Avengers 6: Everybody Gets Rich to win awards that otherwise go to arthouse films with arch titles such as The Nothingness of Everything or Snails: an Unexpected Pansexual Love Story. The creation of a popular picture category is a pretty obvious ploy to address the awards show’s declining television ratings while ignoring the two larger reasons for the decline, namely the penchant of the Hollywood elite to nominate movies that appeal to whatever social justice diktat is in vogue and their obnoxious insistence on hectoring us with their putrid politics from the awards podium. Somehow I still don’t envision the average American movie viewer being willing to sit through three hours of televised drek just for that moment when The Fantastic Four Versus the Justice League: This Time Shit’s for Real collects its statue.
This move has already elicited howls of derision from just about everyone with special scorn coming from the progressive gentry and the artsy-fartsy left in particular. This decision is already evoking memories of the move nearly a decade ago to expand the number of best picture nominees from five to a more robust ten, which ostensibly was about getting some of the box office smashes into the mix. But given the plunging ratings for the show, one can’t help but see this new category as a typically ham-fisted measure from the entertainment elite to try to broaden their appeal to people for whom they largely hold a non-unsubstantial measure of contempt. Under the theory that no one in Tucumcari or Cedar Rapids or Allentown wants to see if the tender coming-of-age story of a schoolboy being seduced by a young adult wins out over a Cold War allegory pertaining to our present-day treatment of immigrants or the timely and inspiring story of plucky newspaper people vexing a Republican administration, the Academy will now throw a bone to the unwashed rubes by letting some special effects bonanza — you know, the kind of movie that you actually pay to see in the movie theater rather than waiting until it is available on Netflix — have a moment of glory. That is of course after the show host, likely chosen because he or she fully represents an iron-clad commitment to the trendy progressive politics of wealthy airheads, has finished a hearty round of woke virtue signaling from deep within the entertainment bubble.
One last interesting tidbit: the article announcing the new categories also mentions that starting in 2020 the Oscars will be moved up a couple of weeks on the calendar to February 9. That is exactly one week after the NFL’s giant trademarked game, so on consecutive February Sundays we will have the most overhyped and ridiculous sports spectacle followed by the most overhyped and ridiculous showbiz spectacle. I guess I will be free to make other plans both of those evenings if anybody would like to go bowling or sing barbershop quartet.