The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences announced last week that the Oscars will feature a category for achievement in popular film. Lil Rel Howery believes that if the Academy included that award prior to this year’s upcoming ceremony, it would have went to Get Out. "If that had happened last year, Get Out would’ve won the Oscar," Howery told The Hollywood Reporter. "We made more money than everybody else’s movies."
While Howery is right to assume that Get Out would have been the hands-down favorite to win the "popular film" award at the ceremony, the Academy is just putting a band-aid over a more important issue that needs be addressed. There are going to be "popular" films like Get Out that deserve more recognition than just in this one particular category.
"That would make you go see movies like Girls Trip — comedies that are always pushed to the side that actually do better than most of these action films. MTV has been doing it so it’s nothing new to us as fans, but it’s about time the Oscars start to upgrade some things they’ve been doing for the last 70 years," Howery continued.
The Jordan Peele-directed social thriller was nominated for four Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Director, but only came away with one award for Best Original Screenplay, which made Peele the first ever black screenwriter to win in the category. While Peele’s victory is undeniably monumental, it also feels like the Academy isn’t ready to fully embrace these "popular" films as legitimate projects that warrant the type of accolades reserved for their so-called prestigious movies.
Take Black Panther, for example. At next year’s ceremony, the film will almost certainly take the popular film category, but can the Academy look past its comic book roots, and give an award to Ryan Coogler for Best Director or Michael B. Jordan for Best Supporting Actor? Jordan may have delivered a quality performance comparable to any other name that they can throw in that category in 2019, but will he get overlooked because it was a Marvel film? The Academy is making changes to make the award show more inclusive, but they can also show this inclusion by recognizing the work of these popular films in categories that have existed for decades.