Robert Vaughn and Paul Newman in the 1974 blockbuster "The Towering Inferno", nominated for Best Picture.
BY LEE PFEIFFER
Movie fans have complained for many years that the Academy is increasingly focusing on nominating art house movies at the expense of blockbusters in the Best Picture Oscar category. The Washington Post investigates whether this is myth or reality and comes down on the side of the latter, providing charts and inflation-adjusted calculations to show that more than ever the Best Picture winners are generally not among the most popular with the public. But should they be? The Oscars are not supposed to be a popularity contest, though someone should tell the Academy that, given their botched lead up for plans for this year's telecast. Should a film get the Best Picture Oscar simply because it is a huge boxoffice success? The Academy was aware of its members honoring smaller art house films and in 2009 made the controversial decision to expand the nominations for Best Picture from five to up to ten. Purists said this was just a disingenuous way to include populist fare without really having to actually vote for it. But Oscar may be getting a raw deal. In the past, the Academy gave Best Picture Oscars to such popular successes as "The Greatest Show on Earth" and "Around the World in 80 Days" and nominated such blockbusters as "Jaws", "E.T.", "Star Wars" and "The Towering Inferno" even when the Best Picture category was relegated to only five films. Click here to read the article and form your own opinion.