A look into how The Joker and Mad Max are improving the Oscars

"Genre" movies are no longer frowned upon

A look into how The Joker and Mad Max are improving the Oscars

Image: Warner Bros

You don't have to look very far to see how often the Oscars get things wrong, and just how wrong they get them.

This year alone sees the tumultuous #OscarsSoWhite campaign rallying against the inherrent racism within the ceremony, but even when focused purely on the final product, things can often go off the rails.

Crash beating Brokeback Mountain to the Best Picture. Ditto with Shakespeare In Love beating Saving Private Ryan. You can practically go through every year of the awards and find a Oscar-winning film that was entirely undeserving when compared to the competition.

However, you can also look at this year's nominations line-up to see that they are not completely closed off to popular opinion, with Mad Max: Fury Road - 2015's most loved action blockbuster - garnering ten nominations, including Best Picture and Best Director. Two years ago, Gravity won seven Oscars, including Best Film and Best Director. A few years back, Heath Ledger won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his role in The Dark Knight. For playing a comic book character, no less!

We have an impression that Oscars gets very caught up in righteous and topical films, allowing them to dominate who wins what, and to an extent, that is an accurate flaw, as only that mindset would allow the very mediocre likes of The Danish Girl to garner so many nominations.

So has the Oscars allows been this tuned in when it came to the nominations? Honestly, yes. Much loved horror movie The Sixth Sense was nominated for Best Picture, as was kids favourite Beauty & The Beast, and the big screen adaptation of The Fugitive, and this was back when there were just five Best Picture nominations slots.

Nominations aren't the problem however, it's the actual winning that presents something of a final, almost insurmountable hurdle for the majority of popular crew. However, that tide seems to be changing, and most of it can be tied back to The Silence Of The Lambs.

To date it is the first and only horror movie to win the big five - Best Film, Director, Actor, Actress, Screenplay - but it opened the gates for "genre" movies to start winning. Chicago became the first musical to win the top prize in 34 years. Gladiator brought the sand'n'sandals epic back in a big way, also winning Best Picture. Trilogy closer The Lord Of The Rings: Return Of The King showed that expensive fantasies weren't to be sniffed at, although it's competition - including Lost In Translation, Mystic River and Seabiscuit - show it was a particularly weak year.

It shows that this year, with talk of Star Wars: The Force Awakens potentially getting nominated (which, unfortunately, didn't quite pan out), that the trend is continuing in that direction. And while the pull away from comedy and horror still very much exists - you'll notice that Trainwreck was completely ignored this year, while there hasn't been a "scary movie" nominated for Best Picture this millenium so far - we can only hope that the trend continues to correct itself.

Can you imagine how different the movie landscape would be if genre films had been as accepted by the Oscar jury as they are currently? Alan Rickman might've actually won one for his role in Die Hard. Films like Heat, The Big Lebowski, Don't Look Now, Groundhog Day, Once Upon A Time In The West, The Shining and Body Heat might have actually landed a single nomination, instead of turning up empty-handed.

Could we see Batman VS Superman being nominated this time next year? Thankfully it'll purely rely on the movie's quality, as opposed to any previously held genre prejudices that would've held it back just fifteen years ago.