Mark Wahlberg Defends Oscars’ New Popular Film Category

If only there were the popular category at the Oscars when “Transformers” or “Ted” were released.

“Maybe if they’d had the category before, we’d have won a couple of them,” Mark Wahlberg told Variety on Thursday night at the premiere of “Mile 22.” “We’ve had some really commercially successful films that we think certainly warranted that kind of notoriety. 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.”

Wahlberg was nominated for a supporting actor Oscar for his role in 2006’s “The Departed” and again in 2010 as a producer for “The Fighter.” STX’s action-thriller “Mile 22” is the 45th film on his acting resume.

“There are a lot of great films out there that happen to be very popular and haven’t been recognized that probably deserve the recognition,” Wahlberg said.

Ronda Rousey, who plays a cold-eyed CIA agent in “Mile 22,” admitted that the popular category appealed to her.

“I might have a shot,” the wrestling star said with a laugh. “Finally, I’m in the running for an Academy Award. I’m gunning for the outstanding achievement in popular film [award]. You heard it now. Vote for me.”

Rousey’s film credits include 2014’s “The Expendables 3,” 2015’s “Furious 7,” and “Entourage.”

Australian actor Nikolai Nikolaeff, who plays a mysterious Russian operative, also said he was a fan.

“There are some amazing films that get overlooked,” he added. “There has to be some kind of pat on the back for overall awesomeness. ‘Star Wars’ is one. You wonder, how did they get overlooked? It’s almost like they’re too successful, so it’s really something to celebrate.”

“Mile 22” opens Aug. 17.

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