In 2018, the president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced that the next Oscars ceremony would include a popular film award category. Its aim was to recognize the movies that excelled at the box office but may not have caught the attention of Academy members who vote for the winners. This announcement was met with backlash and it was ultimately scrapped before a blockbuster could even be announced on the famous stage of the Dolby Theater. Four years later, the Academy is once again attempting to honor popular cinema in order to boost their declining viewership.
Last week, the Academy announced that a movie will be shouted out at the ceremony — it will be determined entirely by Twitter users. I suppose this marks the devolution of the prestigious golden statue into a People’s Choice Award. Using the hashtag #OscarsFanFavourite, Twitter users are able to tweet their favorite 2021 movie up to 20 times a day before March 3, when the winner will be determined and announced at the annual ceremony taking place on March 27.
Anybody even remotely on the internet will know how easy it is to take over this process: K-Pop fans reign supreme at this practice in the current moment, most recently having helped elect basketball player Andrew Wiggins to the NBA All-Star Game over Twitter. Knowing that blockbusters like “Zack Snyder’s Justice League” and “Spider-Man: No Way Home” have impassioned fanbases, you’d expect it to be a DC versus Marvel battle for the inaugural Oscars shout out.
Yet neither film is currently leading the way — in fact, the current movie at the head of the pack isn’t an adaptation of a comic book at all. “Cinderella”, starring pop star Camila Cabello, has amassed enough votes to place it comfortably in first place. Despite receiving less-than-stellar ratings upon its release — scoring roughly 40% in Rotten Tomatoes, IMDB, and Metacritic — it was the most-watched on-demand movie musical of 2021, viewed by 1.1 million American households over its four-day debut alone.
This popularity, in spite of the apparent lack of quality, is due to its star: Cabello was once part of the girl group Fifth Harmony and has loyal fans who followed her from her music career to her acting. They have clearly now made it their mission to get her movie attention on a global stage. They’re not the only fanbase attempting to do so: Johnny Depp’s fans are trending his latest movie “Minamata”, which experienced a delayed debut and was seen by few. “We can’t let Disney win”, states one Tweet, comparing the Rotten Tomato ratings of “Minamata” to “Cinderella” (77% to 43%). The Tweet has nearly 500 likes and 120 retweets.
— Jen 🏴☠️ ⚔ 🏴☠️ (@No_Reason_Jenz) February 20, 2022
But Johnny Depp fans are not just up against Cabello’s base. “Army of the Dead” seems to be the movie chasing “Cinderella”. It is the second Zack Snyder movie to be eligible and the Tweets it appears in receive thousands of likes and views. “We are not losing this time. Get your tweets in line now,” reads one.
We are not losing this time. Get your tweets in line now 🔥🙌
— Geralt of North (@Itssan17) February 23, 2022
Still, don’t count Spider-Man or Justice League out. The same Deadline report that named “Cinderella” as the leader also named them as potential challengers.
There is a week left for Twitter fans to vote. In a month’s time, we’ll see which movie ends up coming out on top and whether this shameless push for viewership will be successful or whether it will be doomed from the start like the attempt that came before it.