Oscars Postpone Plans for New Popular Film Category


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?

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  • Gerry

    I don’t know why they need it. They’ve actually been getting better diversity wise.

    I think the decrease in viewers is partly down to the quantity of garbage / lack of quality on at the cinema from Hollywood in recent years – my main feeling on exiting the cinema after seeing a Hollywood film in the last couple of years was ‘well that wasn’t worth the time or money’.

    I think the amount of entertainment alternatives to anything on TV, not just the academy awards, is finally catching up with the oscars. This isn’t the 1970’s.

    And with the amount of actor, directors etc podcasts available, an awards show just isn’t all that any more.

    If they wan’t more viewers then make the oscars available more widely and easily, e.g. on youtube etc, and make their money from product placement.

  • Dirk Gently

    Good sense prevailed. How often does that happen in the US?

  • Jameson

    Clearly the backlash got to them but I also wonder if Disney/Marvel’s insisting that they’re pushing Black Panther for a Best Pic nom made them realize there’s no need for this.

    Side note: It’ll be absurd if BP gets nominated for Best Picture.

  • Gerry

    If the Academy Award people want to create a new Oscar how about one for best genre film.

    Comedy actors say that a seemingly effortless comedy / humorous performance is much harder than an awards / Oscar baity type performance, with all it’s tics and methods being wheeled out by the actor.

    The best horror and scifi films are usually about something other than horror or scifi, about a pressing issue in society or highlighting an unfortunate trend using metaphor or similie.

    Even the Academy’s percieved audience booster, Superhero films, can try and achieve this, e.g. Marvel films dealt with mass surveillance.

    A best genre film Oscar would reward films like these which would otherwise slip through the cracks and go un-recognised.

    I’d be genuinely interested in such an award at a major show like the oscars.