Will Oscars fan-favorite new category be an S– Show or Best Part? Maybe both

Has anyone heard when exactly the Fan Favorite segment will air on Oscar night? You know that new thing the Academy is doing with Twitter where everyday people can vote online for their pick of Best Picture? The results are supposed to be announced at some point during the March 27th broadcast and I would really like to know at what time. Because that’s the only part of the show that interests me.

In case you can’t tell, I’m pretty much above the Oscars, or at least Oscar voters.

In 2009, the Academy doubled the number of Best Picture nominees to try to make the series friendlier and bring more mainstream movies into the race (“I wouldn’t tell you the truth if I said the words ‘Dark Knight’ didn’t come,” Academy President Sid Ganis told New York at the time. Moments of Decision, referencing Christopher Nolan’s acclaimed but snubbed superhero film of the previous year). But it clearly didn’t work. Instead, the category is now filled with (up to) 10 movies hardly anyone has seen instead of five, which isn’t exactly progress.

Take this year. Of course, there are a handful of populist picks, like Denis Villeneuve’s “Dune” and Steven Spielberg’s “West Side Story” (though neither was populist enough to become a box office hit). ). And Kenneth Branagh could do a cat food commercial that generated buzz at the Oscars, so “Belfast” has some heat.

But “Drive my car”? A Japanese arthouse film about a grieving theater director who mounts a multilingual production of “Uncle Vanya” in Hiroshima? How did it end up on the list? “Licorice Pizza” has a cool indie director (Paul Thomas Anderson) and “The Power of the Dog” has an even cooler one (Jane Campion). But most of America — in fact, most of Los Angeles — probably has no idea what those two movies are (Hollywood wannabes in the 1970s and Montana ranchers in the 1920s , in case anyone asks).

Admittedly, we are in a pandemic and the choices are slim. Yet there is ten slits. Two or three could be filled with popcorn flicks. Many of these nominees are so esoteric that they make Lars von Trier’s films feel like they belong in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

I’m not saying “Spider-Man: No Way Home,” the year’s biggest audience delight judging by its $1.7 billion worldwide gross, deserves to win Best Picture. But is a nomination completely crazy? In which universe ‘Don’t Look Up’, Adam McKay’s comedy-drama about a comet crashing into Earth – one of the year’s lowest-rated films, even though it was the one of Netflix’s most-watched – deserves a spot on Cary Fukunaga’s ‘No Time to Die’, a film so desperate to be taken seriously as a work of cinematic art that it killed off James Bond?

‘King Richard’ might be great and ditto ‘Nightmare Alley’ – like most Americans, I haven’t seen either of them yet – but are they that much better than, say, ‘Cruella’ , Has the Most Entertaining Adult-Movie Disney Ever Turned a Cartoon Villain into a Fashion Icon? I suspect not.

drive my car
“Driving My Car” (Sideshow/Janus Films)

I also suspect that the Academy is well aware that the tastes of its 9,400+ voting members are woefully out of step with what remains of the theater audience, otherwise they wouldn’t be trying to boost viewer engagement with a gimmick Fan Favorite in the top spot. Of course, the Academy is pretty ignorant of internet ways too, so the poll – which runs on Twitter until March 3 and allows anyone to submit their own Best Movie picks using the hashtag #OscarsFanFavorite – will almost certainly a total mess.

Already, fans are angry that the “Snyder Cut” is deemed ineligible (since Zach Snyder’s original “Justice League” came out in 2018 and was at least nominally eligible for an Oscar at the time). Ultimately, the winner of this all-new stunt category will likely be decided by bots and hackers, or die-hard Camila Cabello fans hunched over their Twitter accounts for days. As of this writing, incredibly, Amazon’s ‘Cinderella’ musical appears to be battling for the lead with, among other contenders, Snyder’s ‘Army of the Dead’, ‘The Suicide Squad’ and the stinky Johnny Depp “Minamata”.

But I agree with all the films that the multitudes choose. Their picks are bound to be a whole lot more fun than what real Oscar voters picked out these days.

Golden Globes trailing for winner announcements