The Academy Will Let Twitter Pick A Fan Favorite Movie For The Oscars, And Boy, This Is Going To Go Horribly Wrong, Huh?

If there's one thing we as a collective species should've learned by now after years and years of human evolution and advancement, it's this: never give the internet the power to decide, well, anything. As we've proven countless times before, that will either turn out badly for everyone involved or simply devolve into memes — just ask Boaty McBoatface. On the other hand, you can always count on the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to take their finger off the pulse and ignore common sense and reason, especially when motivated by the transparent attempt of boosting ratings for the flagging Oscars ceremony. From the group that almost brought you the woefully misguided "Most Popular Movie" award and threatened to cut down the lengthy broadcast by nixing certain awards presentations from below-the-line categories that would inevitably be perceived as "lesser," comes the truly groundbreaking and definitely-not-a-mistake-waiting-to-happen idea of allowing Twitter users to vote for their favorite film of 2021. Seriously. That's what they're actually planning to do.

The news comes from the Academy itself (via THR), who announced that voting will begin today, February 14, 2022 through March 3, 2022. Movie fans online, though sadly not Professional Film Enthusiasts like the random guy who inexplicably received airtime during the Oscars nomination livestream, will be able to vote for any movie released in 2021 by using the hashtag #OscarsFanFavorite, even if it wasn't nominated for an Oscar by the actual Academy voters. The movie that receives the most votes will be recognized during the broadcast, and three lucky voters will be randomly selected to win an all-expenses-paid trip to Los Angeles and actually present an award at the ceremony that, mind you, will not require vaccinations to attend. As is rapidly becoming a theme in this story, what could possibly go wrong!

As Meryl Johnson, vice president of digital marketing at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, said in a statement:

We're thrilled to partner with Twitter to help build an engaged and excited digital audience leading up to this year's ceremony. Through these activations, social media users around the world now have more opportunities to engage with the show in real-time, find a community, and be a part of the experience in ways they've never been able to before."

Anyone else feeling blatantly and condescendingly pandered to, or is it just me?

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To put it mildly, there's no telling how this decision might turn out. Obviously, we can expect a contingent of various online fandoms to swarm the hashtag and game the system — by the way, did I mention that everyone's able to vote up to 20 times a day, for some reason? "Spider-Man: No Way Home" is probably an early frontrunner to come out on top as the unironic, mass audience-friendly choice among those who believe that the most popular blockbusters should be duly rewarded on the biggest possible stage. (And to those, I ask: have you noticed "Dune" and its 10 Oscars nominations lately?) We certainly can't discount the ceaseless campaigning and very vocal organizing of the #ReleaseTheSnyderCut movement either, who will likely do everything — up to and possibly including actual in-person protests — in order to get "Zack Snyder's Justice League" recognized for, uh, existing.

But take a step further and who knows what else could unfold? Will audiences attempt to get "The Battle At Lake Changjin" recognized as one of last year's biggest international movies? (Its sequel isn't doing too badly, either.) Can Twitter users unite, just this one time, for an absolutely embarrassing and completely ironic choice that will make the Academy live to rue the day it ever tried to go full, "How do you do, fellow kids?" on us? If we're going for the most widely spread intersection between generally well-liked films and meme fodder, would anyone actually be mad if "Malignant" won and we got to send Gabriel to the Oscars? If we take a much more pessimistic approach, well, I don't even want to think of the political statement that certain bad-faith demographics may try to force-feed into Oscars recognition, even informally.

The possibilities are endless, the potential for abuse is high, and the Academy's ability to remain hopelessly out-of-touch remains undefeated. The Academy Awards is scheduled to broadcast on March 27, 2022 on ABC, when we can all perform an autopsy on just how disastrously this new gimmick unfolded.