Mark Wahlberg defends Oscars’ new popular film category

If only there was 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 “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.

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Mark Wahlberg with daughter Ella Rae
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 21: Actor Mark Wahlberg (R) and Ella Rae Wahlberg leave the 'Good Morning America' taping at the ABC Times Square Studios on September 21, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Ray Tamarra/GC Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 17: (L-R) Mark Wahlberg, Ella Rae Wahlberg and Rhea Durham attend a basketball game between the Houston Rockets and the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center on December 17, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Noel Vasquez/GC Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 2: Mark Wahlberg and Ella Wahlberg attend the Operation Smile's 2015 Smile Gala on October 2, 2015 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Amy Graves/WireImage)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - OCTOBER 02: Actor Mark Wahlberg, wife Rhea Durham and daughter Ella Rae Wahlberg attend Operation Smile's 2015 Smile Gala at the Beverly Wilshire Four Seasons Hotel on October 2, 2015 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic)
WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA - APRIL 26: Rhea Durham, Mark Wahlberg, Brendan Joseph Wahlberg, Grace Margaret Wahlberg, Ella Rae Wahlberg and Michael Wahlberg attend Safe Kids Day at The Lot on April 26, 2015 in West Hollywood, California. (Photo by Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - NOVEMBER 08: Model Rhea Durham, daughter Ella Wahlberg and actor Mark Wahlberg arrive at the Academy Of Motion Picture Arts And Sciences' Governors Awards at The Ray Dolby Ballroom at Hollywood & Highland Center on November 8, 2014 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic)
Mark Wahlberg, Brendan Wahlberg, Ella Rae Wahlberg, Rhea Durham, and Michael Wahlberg attend the US premiere of 'Transformers: Age of Extinction' at the Ziegfeld Theatre in New York City. ?? LAN (Photo by Lars Niki/Corbis via Getty Images)
WESTWOOD, CA - FEBRUARY 01: Actor Mark Wahlberg (R) and his daughter Ella Rae Wahlberg arrive at the Los Angeles premiere of 'The Lego Movie' at the Regency Village Theatre on February 1, 2014 in Westwood, California. (Photo by Amanda Edwards/WireImage)
UNIVERSAL CITY, CA - AUGUST 07: (EXCLUSIVE COVERAGE) Singer Fergie, actor Mark Wahlberg and daughter Ella Rae Wahlberg pose in The Sims 3 Pets green room at the 2011 Teen Choice Awards at Gibson Amphitheatre on August 7, 2011 in Universal City, California. (Photo by Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic)
LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 27: Actor Mark Wahlberg (R) and daughter Ella Wahlberg attend the Minnie Gifting Lounge during the 2013 Radio Disney Awards at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on April 27, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Rachel Murray/Getty Images for Disney)
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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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