Oscar Statues

Weekend Roundtable: New Oscar Categories

Now that the Oscars are creating a new “Popular Film” award, it’s time to open the floodgates for all manner of categories that the Academy has previously overlooked. What other special achievements in filmmaking deserve to be rewarded with Oscar glory?

Deirdre Crimmins

While there are plenty of other worthy awards that the Academy should be considering (stunts, voice acting, etc.), they seem to have taken an absurd left turn with their “Popular” film award for 2020. If I could choose the next ridiculous category, it would be Outstanding Achievement in Performance by an Animal. Just think how adorable it would be. Cats and dogs in tuxes on the red carpet. Birds in gowns. And Black Philip could be given a retroactive award for his head-butting in The Witch. Or, would the Academy continue to snub even animals in horror films?

M. Enois Duarte

After hearing the announcement of the new Oscar category, one thought that immediately came to mind was Best Theatrical Trailer. Movie trailers of late have increasingly grown more boring and either make a habit of revealing too much plot or using footage that never ends up in the final cut. I think the Academy should award those studio editors who actually do a great job of whetting a moviegoer’s appetite.

However, after further consideration, I wonder if that’s maybe a bit too obvious for a category, so let’s go for something as off-the-wall absurd as the Best Popular Film category itself. In the last couple decades, movies have also grown more and more self-aware, often times relying heavily on meta-moments for humor and wink-wink jabs directed at the more knowledgeable in the audience. The Marvel movies are both tremendously notorious for this (the MCU franchise constantly makes nods to the comic books) and occasionally clever due to Disney Studios’ influence. (Various understated allusions to the House of Mouse are also made.) This is becoming such a popular trend that it’s difficult sometimes to know whether we’re supposed to take a movie seriously or assume that it’s poking fun at itself (such Peter Berg’s Battleship or Jon Turteltaub’s The Meg). I suggest that the Academy consider a Best Cultural Reference category for next year’s Oscars. I can almost guarantee we’ll easily have ten movies to choose from every year from here on out.

Jason Gorber

While I’d like to see non-stupid categories like Best Stunts or Best Mo-cap Performance added, let alone enshrining some tech categories like color timing on the list, I guess the most ridiculous things like “Best Kiss” normally end up on the MTV Awards. I’m not entirely sure the “Most Popular” category is utterly trash either, depending on how the Academy implements it. Still, to play along with the spirit of the question, they could follow the Palm d’Og given out facetiously at Cannes and open the Academy up for celebrating animal performances.

Brian Hoss

After the Academy announced the new award category, I heard some suggestions for a few straightforward categories that have certain appeal, namely Best Stunt and Best Trailer. I think I would like to see Best Original IP, and since I’m describing it, it would exclude bio-pics.

As this all seems like a weird marketing move, how about a “Best Movie You Would Want to Watch with Your Parents” category? Now bear with me, this applies to all ages, so even seniors whose parents are long past must still consider their parents’ sensibilities about sharing a movie-watching experience. I admit, I can see Tom Hanks and Ron Howard dominating this category, but I still prefer it over a Grammy-like “Best New Artist” approach.

Adam Tyner (DVDTalk)

Give the people a voice! “Best Popular Film” goes a long way towards celebrating currency-over-quality, but it doesn’t take things nearly far enough. That’s why I propose “Other Best Popular Film.” Same list of nominees. Two golden statuettes.

I’m looking forward to the day that an exceptionally high-grossing film will take home the Oscars for both “Best Popular Film” and “Other Best Popular Film.” I’m looking at you, Skyscraper II: Scrape Sky with a Vengeance.

Shannon Nutt

Given the current MeToo movement and careers crashing left and right due to past indiscretions, I think the Academy needs to have an annual “You Done F’ed Up Your Career” Oscar. It’s the Oscar for someone who is never going to win an award again.

This year’s nominees are:

Kevin Spacey
James Gunn
Jeffrey Tambor
Harvey Weinstein
Dustin Hoffman

Sadly, Morgan Freeman was snubbed this year. Weinstein seems to be the runaway favorite, but don’t count out Spacey, always an Academy favorite. (He’s still a voting member, you know!)

Tom Landy

This is old, but it does look like we may be headed this way:

Josh Zyber

The answer seems obvious to me. If the Miss America pageant is planning to do away with its swimsuit competition, the Oscars should pick up that glorious tradition and run with it. Of course, requiring Hollywood’s biggest stars to parade around on stage in bikinis and Speedos during the ceremony may be a tough ask, so the trophy will have to judge most the most attractive and appealing physiques as seen in movies over the year. As such, I propose the creation of two “Most Bodacious Bod” Oscars, for male and female. (Dudes who spend ten hours a day at the gym getting jacked deserve to be rewarded for their chiseled six-pack abs, don’t you think?)

We weren’t still pretending that the Oscars had anything to do with artistic merit, were we? I think that went out the window as soon as the Popular Film award was announced.

Your Turn

Give us your suggestions for new Oscars in the Comments below.


  1. What about a “do over” award. One that looks back ten and twenty years and changes course if necessary, and award movies that held up better over time. You know, for the “Citizen Kane”, “Saving Private Ryan”, “The Dark Knight” oversights.

    • DarthGilman

      The obviously related one would be the “What Were We Thinking?” award that could be a joint award from the Academy and the Razzies that is given to a film that CLEARLY didn’t deserve it. I’m thinking an Oscar statue with a Golden Raspberry shoved you know where. The first recipient clearly should be (Worst Best Picture Winner of All Time) Crash.

  2. njscorpio

    “Best Hollywood-Asia Movie”. As the film market is getting larger in China (as well as the rest of Asia), we are seeing more and more Hollywood movies that are co-produced with Asian companies, who in turn want these films to appeal further to their local audiences. As a result we get these very interesting “combo” movies, with American stars and Asian stars equally present, with the movie often showcasing Asian locations in addition to other international locations. In an effort to boost Oscar interest among Asian audiences, there should be a category that awards the best of these co-produced efforts.

  3. Best Conceptual FIlm, for those ideas that never actually get made.

    Best Fake Art Film, for titles on serious subjects that get automatic respect without earning it. THE SHIPPING NEWS, SNOW FALLING ON CEDARS, that sort of thing.

  4. Bolo

    The only thing sillier and more pandering that I can think of to top the ‘Outstanding Achievement in Popcorn Franchismo Cinema’ or whatever they’re calling it, would be an Oscar for ‘Nicest Actor/Actress’. It will have nothing to do with your performance in any movie. And depending on how they want to swing it, you might not even have to have been a movie this year provided that you’re active on social media. You just have to be generally liked.

  5. João Lima

    At the same time that I believe technical merit is important, and I value that very much, I like a little the idea of a prize to the movie that most delighted people in general, because there is merit in that too. Many times the best well made movies (considering thecnical aspects) are not actually enjoyable. So we had years where the best movies nominees, and specially the best movie winner, were pretty boring or at least not pleasant to watch.
    I remember The English Patient. Tried 3 times to watch it, I was never able to get througn the end.

    It is like when I think about what is the best movie I ever watched. I cannot avoid to separate this question in 2: what is the best well made movie in my opinion, and what is my actual favorite movie (which could even be a guilty pleasure).

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