Look, we all know that the Oscars aren’t necessarily a metric of “great” or even “good” movies. (Looking at you, Crash.) But still, we all sort of generally accept that an Academy Award nomination is some sort of baseline hallmark of quality, right? Which might explain why so many people were annoyed by the Academy’s recent decision to add a “Best Popular Film” category to its considerations, not just because it perpetuates the myth that excellently crafted genre fare like, say, Black Panther aren’t worthy of “real” Best Picture consideration, but because it means a lot of crap now has a chance to ride its way to Oscar consideration under the wide and nebulous “popular” banner.
Or, ya know, not annoyed, in the case of Mark Wahlberg. The Transformers star—who’s been nominated in the past for Best Supporting Actor and Best Picture (for The Departed and The Fighter, respectively) but never won the big award—expressed his excitement this week at the recent rule changes, which might achieve a bold stroke for film-making equality by finally putting crappy movies on a level playing field with their higher-quality brethren. “Maybe if they’d had the category before, we’d have won a couple of them,” Wahlberg noted during a red carpet interview for his new, probably-not-going-to-get-a-Best-Picture-nod espionage thriller, Mile 22. “We’ve had some really commercially successful films that we think certainly warranted that kind of notoriety.” (Note: This word may not mean what Mark Wahlberg thinks it means.) “We make films that we want people to enjoy and if we get those kind of accolades, fantastic. If not, we make the movies for audiences to enjoy.”
And really, Wahlberg’s just trotting out the old “Hey, I don’t make my movies for the critics, man, I make them for the people” argument that people in his position have been making for years; it’s just that those arguments don’t usually end in the possibility of, like, Ted 3 bringing home the gold.