The Best Pop Movie Award: Coming in 2019
And the Oscar Goes to:
On August 7, 2018, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences governors, a.k.a. those people who continue to not recognize your favorite movie, announced they would finally recognize your favorite movie. You heard that right. Starting in 2019, a new Oscar will be awarded for outstanding achievement in popular film. Upon hearing the news, every film snob rolled their collective eyes so hard they gave themselves concussions. Rob Lowe chimed in, saying Seriously, this best pop movie category is the worst idea the Academy has had since they asked me to sing with Snow White. Thanks Benjamin from Wayne’s World. As Garth so aptly put it, Benjamin is no ones friend. If Benjamin were an ice cream flavor, he’d be pralines and dick.
Contrary to the beliefs of Rob Lowe and all the film snoots, adding a best pop movie award is a great idea. The Oscars are a running joke whose punchline is has anyone even heard of that movie? Ratings for the award show hit an all-time low last year (26.5 million, which still crushes everything on television besides NFL games and certain other sporting events), so, naturally, a bunch of suits freaked out because ratings are how the Oscars make money. But they freaked out in the right direction. The vast majority of people watch the Oscars for two reasons – (1) to see their favorite actors and what they are wearing and (2) to see which movie wins Best Picture. While a lot of factors can affect why someone might watch the Oscars, there is plenty of evidence suggesting that people are more likely to tune in if their favorite movie might win Best Picture. In related news, the most watched Oscars in history was when Titanic won the award. The only people watching the show for reasons besides those two are family, friends, and agents of nominees.
On September 6, 2018, the Academy decided to table the best pop movie award for at least this movie year. The problem is the Academy governors did not think beyond the name of the category. Said one awards consultant for one studio, None of us knew what the word popular referenced. Is Transformers the same thing as Titanic? Does a best-popular-film nomination scuttle your chances at best picture? The answers to those questions, in reverse order, are probably and are you high? Apparently, the Academy board had not figured out what the criteria was for nominating a film when they made the announcement, which is the main reason why they shelved the idea. And that is where I come in.
Since we are not going to see this Oscar awarded for at least another year and a half (if not longer) and have no idea how it was even going to work, I am going to define the criteria and retroactively hand it out for the previous three years. The rules are simple. I will start with the top twenty grossing movies of the year (global box office). If any of those were nominated for Best Picture or Best Animated Feature (crossed out in the lists below), they are replaced by the 21st movie on the box office list and so on until we have twenty again (preceded by asterisks). Then, I will thin that down to five based on reasons that are completely up to me because this is my game. Then, I will announce the winner based on guessing what kinds of movie fans Academy members secretly are and other completely scientific evidence. If you disagree with any picks, Goat will be happy to receive your well-reasoned and thoughtful responses.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Beauty and the Beast (2017)
The Fate of the Furious
Despicable Me 3
Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle
Wolf Warrior 2
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales
Transformers: The Last Knight
Kong: Skull Island
The Boss Baby Dunkirk
War for the Planet of the Apes
*The Greatest Showman
*Kingsman: The Golden Circle
*The Mummy (2017)
Look at that list again. If any of you still believe that moviegoers give even the slightest shit about there allegedly being too many sequels and remakes, I have a screenplay to sell you and it is very artsy. Even the lone foreign film in there is a sequel (Wolf Warrior 2).
Easy Outs – Kingsman: The Golden Circle, The Mummy (2017), Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, Transformers: The Last Knight
These four are objectively terrible movies that would not even garner votes from the actors performing in those films, let alone a large percentage of voters. Well, maybe Tom Cruise.
Making Excuses – The Fate of the Furious, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Justice League
Die-hard fans will defend these movies for various reasons, but that is the entire voting block for each movie. Fortunately, two of the movies are not even the best movies in their respective franchises this year and the acting and plot in Furious are indefensible as to garner very little complaint.
One or Two Major Issues – Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, Beauty and the Beast (2017), Kong: Skull Island, Wolf Warrior 2
Jumanji had a terrible villain and zero drama, but made a lot of money because it was shockingly watchable. Beauty was a straight remake and naked money-grab with nothing new to say. Kong featured an embarrassingly awful villain in Samuel Jackson, who was not even the real villain in the film. I did not watch Wolf Warrior because nobody outside of China did (save for a handful of Australians). We are going for globally popular here.
Nitpicking – The Greatest Showman, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Despicable Me 3, Spider-Man: Homecoming
The Greatest Showman deserved to be in the Best Picture group, but it loses out here as well because more people voted for Wolverine than a singing P.T. Barnum, Despicable Me lost too many votes to people who still remember seeing Gru naked, Spider-Man is not the best Marvel flick of the year, and Star Wars fans are still fighting with each over how good/bad was The Last Jedi and forgot to vote at all.
That Leaves – It, Thor: Ragnarok, Wonder Woman, Logan, War for the Planet of the Apes [Goat getting out the Black Marble]
It is the surprise candidate of this group. The horror fans, especially Stephen King fans, stepped it up to make sure super heroes did not dominate the entire category. Same goes for Apes fans, who are still lobbying for Andy Serkis to get an acting nomination for portraying Caesar the ape and single-highhandedly defining the art of motion-capture acting. The majority of DC fans and women have joined up to push Wonder Woman near the top, though the women are making sure the comic book nerds are staying at least one hundred feet away from them due to the nerds basing their votes solely on the costumes in the film. Marvel fans are split between Thor and Logan. On one hand, the R-rating of Logan led to both Wolverine and Professor X showing off their potty mouths. On the other hand, everyone is still laughing at Thor and marveling at how much fun Cate Blanchett, Tessa Thompson, and Chris Hemsworth were having on screen.
And the Oscar goes to – Thor: Ragnarok.
Captain America: Civil War
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
The Jungle Book (2016)
The Secret Life of Pets
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them
The Mermaid (Mei ren yu)
Kung Fu Panda 3
La La Land
Ice Age: Collision Course
*Independence Day: Resurgence
*The Legend of Tarzan
2016 is one of the dumbest years in the history of the world and this list only reinforces that fact. People made horrible choices and Earth and humanity are far worse off for it. How else to explain some of this list?
Objective Garbage – Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Suicide Squad, Independence Day: Resurgence
Reading that trio of titles gives me gas. Nobody with even a shred of dignity would vote for them, which is how they almost won the Electoral College.
Animation Emasculation – Finding Dory, The Secret Life of Pets, Sing, Kung Fu Panda 3, Warcraft, Ice Age: Collision Course
Eight of the top twenty movies are cartoons. If that is not an allusion to the insane Presidential campaign, then I do not know what the definition of allusion is. Plus, none of those movies excited any parents and kids are not allowed to vote in this game.
Seriously? – X-Men: Apocalypse, Jason Bourne, The Legend of Tarzan
A lot of letters were sent in wondering how any of these movies escaped the Objective Garbage group. Responses went out, not to convince anybody that these movies deserve votes, but that they are at least watchable films, unlike that first trio. And, none of them gave me gas.
We are so Confused – The Jungle Book (2016), Doctor Strange, Monster Hunt
Another Disney live-action remake. Another Marvel flick. Another Chinese movie that nobody outside of China saw or has heard of. The Jungle Book vote was badly hampered by Christopher Walken and Bill Murray insisting on strangling cats while singing bad covers of our favorite Jungle Book songs. Doctor Strange was good and Benedict Cumberbatch brought home the British votes. Unfortunately, slightly more than half were mistakenly cast for Brexit and calls for a mulligan have fallen on deaf ears in both cases. While we all heard Monster Hunt was a fun movie, everyone was grossed out when told of a scene where a dude gave birth to an emoji.
That Leaves – Captain America: Civil War, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them, Deadpool, The Mermaid (Mei ren yu)
The top five nominees garnered 98.7% of all the votes this year. The other 1.3% went to Warcraft from a bunch of Hobbit extras who stole their costumes after their scenes were done and still have not taken them off. The Mermaid stole a bunch of votes after people watched the trailer (which is amazing). The Potterverse still has a rabid following, which rivals MCU fans and Star Wars fans in numbers and cosplay outfits. Rogue One and Civil War both benefited from being considered by many to be the best entries in their respective franchises. Yes, they are. Continuing the phenomenal marketing campaign of Deadpool, Ryan Reynolds sent gift baskets to everyone in the Academy to earn some votes, though who knows if that is really wine and cheese in there.
And the Oscar goes to – Deadpool.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Avengers: Age of Ultron
Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2
Fifty Shades of Grey
Hotel Transylvania 2
Kingsman: The Secret Service
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Good Dinosaur
The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water
Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials
What a brutal list to choose from. Sure, there are some safe choices in there, but when you lose The Martian and Mad Max: Fury Road to the rules of this game, you are in the hole before you even start.
Please Make it Stop – Taken 3, Furious 7, Terminator: Genisys
The Fast and Furious franchise is the most inexplicable thing in Hollywood. It is a guilty pleasure that everyone loves no matter how terrible and absurd the movies get as their title number gets larger. That does not mean people vote for them to win awards. It just means they watch them again and again (and again). The other two managed a few foreign votes while American voters ignored them (just like they did when the films were in theaters).
The Books Were Better – The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2, Fifty Shades of Grey, Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials
Mockingjay received votes because it made an attempt and staying faithful to its source material, though many people withheld votes simply for it being a part two. The other two did nothing but piss off their fan base, especially the bored housewives who wanted to see some serious smut happen on screen. They did begrudgingly acknowledge that the screenplay was probably written with more thought than someone with access to an iPhone.
Looney Tunes – Hotel Transylvania 2, Home (2015), The Good Dinosaur, The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water
Inside Out won every heart of every human, so a vote for another animated feature was destined to be a consolation prize at best. But these four? No.
One-Person Shows – Spectre, Cinderella (2015), San Andreas
James Bond and Cinderella are household names and nabbed votes from loyal fans. Dwayne Johnson is still The Rock and people who knowingly burn money on the farce that is professional wrestling are as loyal as they come. They just could not decide which Rock movie to vote for this year and accidentally tanked both films by splitting the vote.
Powerful Inertia – Jurassic World, Avengers: Age of Ultron
People love the Avengers and people love dinosaurs. Their Rotten Tomatoes scores are nearly identical, if not a smidge high. Everyone wants to be in either franchise because it means a big paycheck. Unfortunately, the writers guild actually paid attention to both films and was not happy with the result of either. Thus both movies came up short of a nomination.
That Leaves – Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Minions, Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation, Ant-Man,
Kingsman: The Secret Service
A juggernaut and four surprises. When we were counting votes, we thought for sure Spectre would be in the top five, but scientologists were promised another OTO level to strongly and thoroughly consider their votes. Ant-Man pulled off the upset in the annual MCU duel, despite Andy Serkis fans lobbying for him to get an acting nomination for single-handedly defining the art of motion-capture acting, mistakenly thinking he also portrayed Ultron. Minions crushed the animated competition, capitalizing on the risk of believing people do not actually care if they understand what characters are saying. The Force Awakens earned something like a trillion dollars and the votes to match, simply by not sucking or being made by George Lucas. As for Kingsman, people are still talking about the church scene, many casting their votes before the film was even over.
And the Oscar goes to – Star Wars: The Force Awakens.