By Ava Aschettino
The Oscars, THE most prestigious award show of them all, recently decided to introduce a new category, “Outstanding Popular Film,” to the 2019 show. This category was introduced as a result of fans’ belief that box office hits should be recognized for their success too; in the past, creative films that are more or less under the radar to many have been the only ones to receive accolades at the Oscars. This is the first time a new category has been introduced to the show since 2001 when the category “Best Animated Feature” was added to the rundown. The “Outstanding Popular Film” category will feature five box office hits released in 2018, and the nominees will be announced on January 24th, 2019. Although there have been many record-setting films released to the silver screen this past year, here are a few of my predictions for this year’s newest category.
Black Panther (February 16, 2018): After returning home to his kingdom, Wakanda, after the death of his father, the Black Panther, T'Challa (Chadwick Boseman), is ready to assume the throne and begin his position as King. Upon T’Challa’s return, he is challenged by a new enemy, Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan) for ruler of Wakanda. T’Challa teams up with his genius younger sister, Shuri, Nakia, Okoye, and CIA agent Everett Ross to save his kingdom, and the whole world, from the impulsiveness of Killmonger. This movie is not just another Marvel hit; it was the ninth-highest grossing film of all time, making nearly $1.35 billion dollars. The film’s success is not only due to its intriguing storyline, but for being culturally revolutionary in its own right. Not only do I believe this film will be nominated, but I’m certain it will take home the Oscar.
Ready Player One (March 29, 2018): Set in the year 2045, the Earth has been heavily over-populated and characters such as Wade Owen live a life riddled with poverty. A virtual reality system known as “The Oasis” is invented to allow the millions in poverty to escape to a world of their choosing, where they can be whoever they want, wherever they want. This “game” soon becomes so much more to Wade, bringing love to his depressing life, but also highlighting the evil of the game. Wade, Evelyn, and their friends must find a way to protect the Oasis from being taken away from millions. Besides being a box office hit, this film should be recognized for its out-of-this-world futuristic technology, unlike anything seen before in theatres. I put off watching this film for months because it seemed too “sci-fi” and boring for my taste, but I was wrong. If you have not seen this film, know that Spielberg’s incredible work will shatter all your expectations.
Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again (July 20, 2018): This musical phenomenon is not only a sequel to its 2008 predecessor, but also serves as a prequel. Years after Sophie’s mother’s death, Sophie (Amanda Seyfried) becomes pregnant with her first child and reflects back on her mother, Donna, and her life, as she looks for guidance. She asks her mother’s two closest friends to fill in the gaps of her mother’s life as a young pregnant woman. The movie alternates between young Donna (Lily James) and her experience as a young girl in love, and Sophie and her problems while opening a hotel in honor of her mother (Meryl Streep). While exploring Donna’s past, the film also offers subtle hints about which of Sophie’s three dads is her actual father. This film delights audiences with over a dozen classic ABBA songs that will have people of all ages singing along. Many are pleased by the sequel and claim it’s the best musical since its predecessor. Ever since the movie hit the silver screen, many predicted it would snag a nomination in the new Oscars category, but fans will have to wait until January 24th, 2019 to see for themselves!
A Star is Born (October 5, 2018): A third remake of the 1937 classic, A Star is Born stars Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga. Jack (Cooper), a seasoned musician, discovers a struggling artist, Ally (Gaga), and helps kick-start her career. The two fall in love, but as her career escalates, his declines, as well as their relationship. Not only does this film feature a soundtrack with hits that landed the top spot on the music charts, but all the music performed by the characters in the film is performed LIVE. This film has not only received phenomenal reviews from critics, but audiences adored this movie as well. The film features some of Cooper and Gaga’s best work, and it certainly tugs on viewers’ heartstrings. Although the remake is unlikely to win in the category, the film and its leads are sure to receive nominations in other categories, and may possibly rack up numerous wins.
Bohemian Rhapsody (November 2, 2018): Written by band members of Queen, Bohemian Rhapsody depicts the life of worldwide sensation and lead singer Freddie Mercury. The movie shows the band's rise to stardom and provides viewers with a behind-the-scenes look at life on tour. This film also highlights Mercury’s substance abuse and sexuality while paying homage to those who were ESSENTIAL in shaping Queen into the band it is known as today. Oh... and let’s not forget 22 of Queen’s top hits. Rami Malek (Freddie Mercury) gives the undeniable best performance of the year in this inspiring story that allows viewers to see the obstacles Mercury faced. The film has grossed over $500 million so far. Although the movie received some backlash from critics, fans poured into theaters. I personally believe that this film should snag the Oscar!