Oscars to Introduce New Award for Popular Film

After taking criticism year after year for being both irrelevant and esoteric, this week The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences unveiled some major changes to the Oscars in an attempt to reconnect with the general public. The biggest of these changes is the addition of a new category for “outstanding achievement in popular film.” Clearly they want to give mainstream moviegoers something to root for, although this was the same reason that they expanded the Best Picture category from five to ten nominees back in 2009. Obviously that did not have the desired effect with last year’s nominees being the lowest grossing group in six years. But what constitutes a popular film? The rules are unclear although it seems likely to be based on box office numbers. Hit the jump for more info on the Oscar shake-up.

According to Variety, the other new changes include shortening the television broadcast to 3 hours and moving the air date up by a few weeks. The 2019 Oscars will still take place on Feb. 24th but the 2020 show will now be on Feb. 9th. This is supposedly to put the Oscars in closer proximity to the other major award ceremonies so that audiences aren’t feeling as much award season fatigue.

The shortened broadcast will be achieved partially by presenting certain awards during the commercial breaks, which is sure to rub many people the wrong way. With last year’s show running nearly four hours and resulting in the lowest ratings to date, I suppose it was to be expected. But now it seems like the Academy is going to annoy industry folks and hardcore cinephiles in an attempt to make the show accessible again, which may be a futile effort anyway. What do you think of the latest changes to the Oscars?

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  • Lori Cerny

    So, now the Oscars are no better than little leagues in which every participant gets a ribbon?!? That makes any Oscar award worthless.

  • Tommy

    I dunno how appealing the category would be if it was just a famous person reading a publicly available top box office list.

  • Lior

    The irony is that in their attempt to become less irrelevant, they are becoming exactly that, by adding a meaningless and frankly silly category and nixing other categories because they’re not, well, “popular” (seems to be the key word here).
    The Oscars is supposed to be an award show that celebrates cinema, not a rating-dependent popularity contest. It’s integrity and prestige is being eroded year after year so that ABC can sell commercials, to the point where soon the award will not mean anything anymore and turn into a high-budget version of the MTV movie awards.

  • bendoofus

    “…and the rottentomoatoes award for highest percentage goes to…”

  • Jake

    Oh god I hope the award is not going to be given out based just on box office numbers, although I’m sure that could factor into nominations for this category. The Oscars are becoming the MTV Movie Awards.

  • Dirk Gently

    So they’ve created a new category just so they can give Black Panther an Oscar?

    Shit, just give them one already.

  • Beat_C

    wha a brutally silly idea.

  • andyluvsfilms

    or as I call it ‘Explosions Do Not Equal Entertainment Award”

  • ScrabbleDavid

    so a subtle way for big filmmakers to get a non-award for your film? it’s no longer a judgment, it is a popularity contest. worthless and makes the award ceremonies even more worthless. bah

  • disqus_R9COQbeddV

    The worst decision. The people who don’t like watching a 3-hour Oscar show aren’t going to change their minds because of one category, and traditional awards viewers will be turned off by the corporate pandering.

  • ScrabbleDavid

    already not watching the award shows, any credibility went by oh 20 years ago at least.