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Please Advise! Do the Oscars’ Need a ‘Best Bad Blockbuster’ Award?

Of course, says Dr. Steve, and many more new prizes as well.

By Steve Burgess 10 Aug 2018 | TheTyee.ca

Steve Burgess writes about politics and culture for The Tyee. Find his previous articles here.

Steve Burgess is an accredited spin doctor with a Ph.D in Centrifugal Rhetoric from the University of SASE, situated on the lovely campus of PO Box 7650, Cayman Islands. In this space he dispenses PR advice to the rich and famous, the troubled and well-heeled, the wealthy and gullible.

Dear Dr. Steve,

Just taking a break from politics for a moment — it’s summer and all — how do you feel about the Academy Awards creating a new category for Outstanding Popular Film?

Signed,

Cinephile


Dear Cin,

Woody Allen once said that 80 per cent of success in life is just showing up. Now that's also going to be 90 per cent of a new Oscars category. Woody Allen by the way, will not be winning it.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has been in a panic. Oscar ratings have been dropping, even as the telecast continues to drag on like a congressional Benghazi hearing. The golden minds of the Oscar brain trust have clearly decided that the problem is a disconnect between the snooty eggheads who give prizes to movies like silent film The Artist and the public who prefer dialogue-free movies to be more like The Fast and the Furious. So they are creating a new category essentially for Best Film That Made a Shit-Ton of Money, hoping this will draw ordinary filmgoers back to the annual televised schmooze-fest. They are clearly spooked by the angry citizens who picket the venue each year with signs reading “Academy Unfair to Transformers.”

This new category is actually consistent with Oscar tradition. The academy has long featured a Best Foreign Film award, reserved for those weird, faraway peoples who speak in strange tongues. Now they’re doing the same thing again, except for Wisconsin.

The new award may be targeted at films like the Star Wars series, an established element of popular culture largely ignored outside of technical categories. But this could pose problems. In 1997 the Best Picture Oscar went to the year’s biggest box office smash, Titanic. Would that still have happened had there been an Outstanding Popular Film category? Defenders of the new award might suggest that Titanic would still have won Best Picture, while the academy would have used the new Oscar to recognize the cinematic milestone that was Con Air.

In fact, the new Outstanding Popular Film category might open the way to a raft of new categories. Still using Con Air as an example, the Best Actor category (won by Jack Nicholson in 1997) could be supplemented by an Oscar for Most Acting. Nicholas Cage would surely be the Tom Hanks of that one.

Another new award could salute the Most Successful Film That Bombed on Rotten Tomatoes. This could finally be the chance for Transformers to clean up — Transformers: Age of Extinction pulled in over a billion dollars worldwide with a Rotten Tomatoes score of 15 per cent. At last a global TV audience may find out what Michael Bay looks like.

It's possible that this new award is an attempt by the academy to head off competition from a rumoured new awards show, to be called “The Moneys.” Award categories will include Best Offshore Account, Best Tax Dodge and, of course the big one, Most Money. People love success, and after all the Oscar is a golden statue. Even small independent films could be recognized with a new Oscar for Best Profit Margin Relative to Production Costs. Step up to the podium, Paranormal Activity!

Of course, if you scratch the surface of anything these days you find Donald Trump. The small-screen tiny-handed mental midget regularly rails against those big, bad Hollywood elites. If the academy truly wants to cater to the MAGA heartland, it would do well to consider a new category for Best Film Without Anyone on George Clooney’s Christmas Card List. Scott Baio will be a shoo-in, if he can get a job.

But I wasn’t going to get into politics here. Today let’s stick to the topic of film — that wonderful medium where it is taken for granted that Americans will always stand up against Nazis. That is, at least until the release of the next Dinesh D’Souza epic.  [Tyee]

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