This is the last year the Academy will have a random number between 5 and 10 for Best Picture nominees. The reason for this movie isn’t necessarily to open up the Best Picture race to more “popular” movies. It should be but it won’t be. It’s being done so the Oscars can be more inclusive of the kinds of people making movies and what those movies will be about. I’m not passing judgment on this decision either way, but I do think it’s always worth remembering that the Oscars used to be more expansive in terms of what kinds of films it nominated – in other words, movies lots of people actually saw.
They toyed briefly with a “popular” film category but Film Twitter had a massive earth quaking freak out which shut that down. I guess the Oscars can be happy that they are now considered “sacred” ground not to be trampled by the Proles. But the Oscars also used to be much more “populist” than they are now. So, to that end, and imagining an Oscars that might have opened its arms slightly this year, I have a few ideas of what movies might have gotten some attention.
Greenland! Laugh all you want but I keep hearing from various people about how pleasantly surprised they were by it.
My friend told me the other day that he didn’t see a movie better than Greenland this year. Sure, it’s a “disaster movie” and it stars Gerard Butler but there is something about it, the pacing, the acting that makes it stand out as one of the better popcorn films this year. It got me thinking whether or not it would have a chance if there were ten slots for Best Picture or whether we would still be caught up in the insular world of film critics.
The other film like this is The Invisible Man. Both of these films fall outside the bounds of what we define as Oscar movies now. Even if we all tried to make Greenland happen there is probably not the best chance it would find its way to the top of the pile. I guess we’re back to that old question of why not? I find it strange that we exist in an increasingly isolated bubble where people simply do not know the movies that often get nominated for the Oscars. You might think, well, it’s their job to rise to the occasion and likes the movies Oscar voters like. Maybe? But maybe not.
Greenland was never even released theatrically – and hasn’t made a dime at the box office but it somehow has good word of mouth outside film Twitter and other elite enclaves that decide the Oscar race. Greenland should be a bad movie. By all accounts, given the plot, it should be a cringeworthy bad sci fi junk epic. But it isn’t. From the beginning to the end it holds as a tightly woven thriller about the end of the world.
Over at Rotten Tomatoes, Greenland has an audience score of 65, which seems kind of weird to me. But at Amazon it has 4.5 out of 5 on over 15,000 reviews. So film geeks did not like the movie but general audiences did? That is somewhat intriguing of a disconnect. Critics at RT liked it better than audiences.
The Invisible Man does pretty well at Amazon, though not quite as well as Greenland with a 4.4 out of 5. Critics at RT liked it a lot, and the audience liked it more than Greenland.
Another film that kind of drifted in between word of mouth and film critics was Let Him Go, with Kevin Costner and Diane Lane. That also did roughly the same numbers as The Invisible Man at RT, and gets a 4.2 rating on Amazon.
What movies did you see this year that you thought, yeah, maybe that would get in with ten?