Well, at least one person seems to be on board with the Oscars’ new “achievement in popular film” category.
Mark Wahlberg, who has starred in a lot of would be “popular film” hopefuls, defended what a lot of film critics are calling “a second-class category,” “nonsense consolation prize,” and “a head-slapper on all counts.”
“Maybe if they’d had the category before, we’d have won a couple of them,” Wahlberg told Variety at the premiere of Mile 22. “We’ve had some really commercially successful films that we think certainly warranted that kind of notoriety. We make films that we want people to enjoy and if we get those kind of accolades, fantastic. If not, we make the movies for audiences to enjoy.”
The category continues to garner critics since it was announced last week. Some fear a film like Black Panther, which many consider a deserving Best Picture contender, could be snubbed in the category but given a “popular film” nomination instead. Others blasted the move for honoring popularity over craft and appearing to make the Oscars less prestigious.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences said in a letter to board members, “We have heard from many of you about improvements needed to keep the Oscars and our Academy relevant in a changing world. The Board of Governors took this charge seriously.” Along with “achievement in popular film,” the Academy also announced a shorter, “more globally accessible three-hour telecast.”
This comes after this year’s Oscars, which honored The Shape of Water for Best Picture, became the least-viewed telecast in its history.
Wahlberg’s Mile 22 costars Ronda Rousey and Nikolai Nikolaeff also said they were fans of the new category.
“I might have a shot,” Rousey told Variety. “Finally, I’m in the running for an Academy Award. I’m gunning for the outstanding achievement in popular film [award]. You heard it now. Vote for me.”