“Best Popular Film” Category at Oscars is Worst Possible Idea (Here are Better Ones)

The Academy of Arts and Sciences has decided in their infinite stupidity to add an additional category to their already very long list of nominations. These new golden statue recipients will have earned it not by being recognized for an additional discipline or skill in filmmaking that has been long overlooked or ignored, but rather for being a part of the “Best Popular Film.” What does that even mean? Will it be given to the movie that had the highest profit? Or the movie with the most social media impressions? How about most times a trailer is watched before its release? The Academy themselves don’t seem to know how to answer that question either. This article explains it quite well.

The reality is that The Academy absolutely SHOULD add another category. Actually it should add a few. How and why it is that The Academy hasn’t done this yet completely confounds me as well as every filmmaker and storyteller from every notch of the totem pole. Here are some categories that The Academy must add. I’ll even tell you who should have Oscars already given to them retroactively with The Academy’s apologies from the last 20 years or so. 

Best Motion-Capture Performance: When you look at films like the “Avatar,” “Planet of The Apes,” or “Lord of the Rings” franchises, how can you not marvel at the amazing visuals and movie magic that can now be done? Yes, there is already an award for Visual Effects, and there should still be. But have you ever seen how these films are made? They take an actor and put them in these light-sensitive onesie pajamas with a camera inches from their face to then digitally create the character.

Give Andy Serkis 7 Oscars for his roles in “King Kong” and the “Planet of the Apes” and “Lord of The Rings” franchises. No one could do better.

Best VoiceOver Performance: I love animated films. I find myself looking at a character in an animated film and hearing the voice that comes out of it and agree that the voice that they use is exactly how the character should sound. There are so many talented voice-over actors that not only do impressions, but also create original voices for these characters. Animators and VO actors will often work in tandem to get the right personality and mannerisms for the character on the literal drawing board.

Give Alan Tudyk 4 Oscars for his roles in “Star Wars: Rogue One,” “i,Robot,” “Moana” and “Zootopia.” Also give David Hyde Pierce 1 for his voice performance in the first “Hellboy.”

Best Character Performance (Non MoCap): Even in 2018, filmmakers will elect to design and create a traditional costume for a monster or fantasy character. Guillermo delToro is the best at this. Period. And the best actor to do these performances all come from one man. One giant, double-jointed man with the patience to sit in the makeup chair for six to eight hours a day.

Give Doug Jones 5 Oscars for his roles in both “Hellboy” movies, one for each character he played in “Pan’s Labyrinth,” and one for “The Shape of Water.”

Best Fight Scene (Choreography and Performance): Aside from the copout of needing to give Jackie Chan like 200 of these, fight choreography in movies are extremely difficult and time-consuming. The risk of injury is all but certain. Actors (whether they have previous combat/martial arts training or not) and choreographers must be on the same page every quarter inch of the way. Making sure the fight looks real, clean, and impressive on camera depending on the combat style is very difficult to manage.

Give Tony Jaa 1 for his breakout role in “Ong Bak” as a performer in a fight scene. Iwo Uwanis deserves 2; one for each incarnation “The Raid” films. Scott Adkins should have 4 for his fights in the “Undisputed” franchise and Sammo Hung needs about 100 for his lifetime as a fight choreography and action performer, respectively.

As for choreography, I wasn’t able to find his/her/their name, but whomever did the choreography for “Oldboy” (2013), give them an Oscar now!

Though my nominations are clearly my personal bias, the categories are not. Any other actors you’d like to nominate? Are there any other categories you would add? Comment on this post and let me know.

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