Last month The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced their intention to shake the Oscars up with some major changes starting this year. By far the most notable change was the introduction of a brand new award for Outstanding Achievement in Popular Film (although the exact definition of “popular film” was left unclear). The announcement led to some intense backlash in the days that followed, even among Academy members, with many feeling that it was nothing more than a ratings grab that only served to cheapen the awards. Now this week the Academy has decided to postpone the introduction of the new award until they can work out the kinks. Here is an excerpt from the official press release:
“While remaining committed to celebrating a wide spectrum of movies, the Academy announced today that it will not present the new Oscars category at the upcoming 91st awards. The Academy recognized that implementing any new award nine months into the year creates challenges for films that have already been released. The Board of Governors continues to be actively engaged in discussions, and will examine and seek additional input regarding this category.”
It sounds like they have not completely given up on the idea, but just want to take the time to fully think it through. Whether or not it will actually happen remains to be seen. Academy president John Bailey seems to have been blindsided by the negative response, calling it somewhat hypocritical: “The same people who have criticized us for irrelevance and elitism now suddenly were the guardians at the gate, talking about the bowdlerization of the Oscars.” It does seem that the Oscars are essentially damned if they do make big changes but also damned if they don’t. At any rate, they are still moving forward with plans to shorten the Oscar telecast to three hours. Do you think they made the right decision?