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Virginia Postrel

Blockbusters Can Make for Good Art, Too

While the “Popcorn Oscar” was a flop, Hollywood can still reward big-budget films that are as good as any indie flick.

His audience is still waiting.

His audience is still waiting.

Photographer: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

Less than a month after announcing the new category, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has backed down from its plan to give an Oscar “for outstanding achievement in popular film.” The “popular” Oscar proved unpopular from the start.

The idea managed to simultaneously stigmatize popular films, as good for Oscar’s TV ratings but not truly worthy, and traditional nominees, as box office losers. Creating a “popular” category meant officially abandoning the Oscar ideal that films can be both good art and good business.