I have a few specific things I want to talk about. Fallout is one of the most critically-acclaimed films of the year. Tom Cruise delivers this phenomenal performance that has him jumping out of a helicopter, breaking his ankle. Do you feel that it’s time for the Oscars to finally acknowledge his work on this franchise? Because I think his performance is amazing, and it feels like genre films, when it’s action, when they think of it like Mission: Impossible, they don’t look at his performance in terms of an Oscar kind of thing. I think it’s a shame because he delivered something amazing in this.
MCQUARRIE: I can be diplomatic, but **** it. There was talk of a popular film category. I’m really glad they’re not doing that, because I think the notion of that is to shy away from the fact that a—I don’t care, revoke my academy membership. What would be more effective, is I think if you’re going to introduce a new category the category should be stunts. I can’t think of a film recently that might qualify, but, that’s an art, that’s a skill, that’s a craft. Those are people risking their lives and doing things that are absolutely and utterly truly amazing and are so much a part of an experience like that. Not just in films like this. You go look at Hell or High Water. Lone Survivor. The stunts in that movie were absolutely incredible. In terms of a new category, I think you need to do that.
In terms of the notion of a popular film, if you look at the history of the Academy Awards, you can see that over time the Academy has an idea of what a Best Picture is. What qualifies as a Best Picture. There was an era that you had to be big and giant and bloviated to qualify as Best Picture. There was a time when you had to be cutting edge and out there to do it.
I think that there’s a point at which we’ve lost sight of the fact that what we’re here to do first and foremost—sorry if this sounds offensive to anybody—is to entertain people and to move people. A part of me looks at that and says, “Well, there are big movies that do that too.” I was reading online the back and forth, the arguments of how certain films didn’t qualify because they’re just not Academy Award movies. This one guy had this unbelievably articulate seven-paragraph argument for all of the things that qualified a movie, none of which were Titanic. It wasn’t that long ago that a film like that was both commercially successful and won all of those Academy Awards. I think some of what we see now is a little bit of a backlash from that. There’s a morning after and people say, “We did what? We gave the two billion dollar earning movie an Academy Award and not these other movies?”
They’re bringing a lot of new people into the Academy. I think that’s great. They’re sharing the wealth. I think that’s wonderful. It might be nice if they had a bunch of screenings where they talked about what a Best Picture is. How do we define it? Really, if they look at what their mission is. I think ultimately you’ll just see the pendulum swing. Some film will do it. Some change in the audience will do it. Look, a film like this made a lot of money. That’s perfectly acceptable. There are other films, smaller films, important films, films that are addressing things that people don’t necessarily want to confront that don’t make money. The awards that they make get that movie attention and might put that movie in front of some other people. I think that’s great too. I think I’ve covered about every single possible perspective you could have on all this. I answered your question. But in the end, stunts.