Over three years after the Oscars scrapped an idea for a "best popular film" award, the Academy seems to be revisiting it in a new form.
For the 2022 Oscars, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is asking Twitter users to vote on their favorite film of 2021, and the movie that gets the most votes will be recognized during the telecast, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Fans will be able to vote for any film released in 2021, even if it's not nominated at the Oscars, either by tweeting the name of the movie with the hashtag "#OscarsFanFavorite" or by entering it in a form on the Academy's website.
Additionally, the Academy is asking fans to vote on their favorite scene (dubbed a "cheer moment") in a 2021 film, and the scenes that win will be shown during the Oscars. Three people who vote for their favorite 2021 movie will also win a trip to next year's Academy Awards and present an Oscar.
The move appears to be an attempt to not only boost online engagement with the Oscars but increase the ceremony's declining ratings by ensuring a popular film like Spider-Man: No Way Home is recognized in a significant way. It calls to mind the Academy announcing in 2018 it would introduce a new award called "outstanding achievement in popular film," which would be separate from Best Picture and honor a blockbuster movie. But the idea sparked backlash from those who argued it would be a condescending consolation prize for movies deemed not good enough to simply compete for Best Picture, and the Academy ultimately tabled plans for the award.
Years later, though, the "fan favorite" vote could be seen as an evolution of that idea — and after all, when has asking the internet to vote for something in an online poll ever gone wrong?