The Oscars – in recognition of popular art

The 82nd Annual Academy Awards are nearly upon us. On Sunday March 7 millions of viewers will be tuning in to see which movies, actors, directors and supporting crew will be recognised for their contribution to the popular art of film. A full list of the movies that are up for best picture can be found on the Guardian website. While many people go to the movies to watch such movies as Avatar or District 9 these instances of mass popular art, which are easily accessible to a wide audience both in terms of physical access through mass distribution technology and also in terms of it being easy to understand and engage with the movie, are often recognised as being different from artworks that fall into the category of fine art.

Recognition of distinction between fine and popular art raises a question of what it is that distinguishes popular art, such as motion pictures like Inglorious Basterds, from fine art like that of Marc Quinn’s “Self”. Additionally there is a question of whether performances of artworks by trained performers or untrained performers (such as in the case of dance or musical performances) can determine if a performance falls into the category of popular or fine art. There is also a frequent assumption that instances of fine art are of greater value than instances of popular art as exemplified by the likes of Up in the Air. But how is this claim to the superior value of fine art justified? Theories surrounding these issues are explored by Theodore Gracyk in the related article listed below.

A full list of Oscar nominations can be found here or at the official Oscars website.

Related articles:
Searching for the ‘Popular’ and the ‘Art’ of Popular Art
Theodore Gracyk , Minnesota State University Moorhead
(Vol. 2, April 2007)
Philosophy Compass

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