The Oscars to introduce a new award for popularity

Brunilde Fioravanti
Agosto 9, 2018

John Bailey, the newly re-elected president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and film Academy CEO Dawn Hudson said in an email to members Wednesday morning that the Board of Governors met Tuesday night to approve the changes.

The Academy's new Oscars popular film category isn't so popular.

To keep the ceremony to three hours, the academy vows to present only select categories live.

All three of these changes, Nielsen-focused as they are, may seem puzzling. until you remember that the Academy's day-to-day activities depend, at least in part, on the sale of TV rights to the Oscars broadcast.

It later issued an addendum to its letter, saying: "in creating this award, the Board of Governors supports broad-based consideration of excellence in all films".

It's unclear what exactly spurred this decision to consider a category for "popular film" and what exactly that would entail (likely big box-office movies that aren't necessarily considered Oscar-worthy).

IndieWire chief film critic Eric Kohn told The Washington Post that the "crass" category frustrates him. In addition, some winners will now be announced during commercial breaks, then edited for airing later in the broadcast (Something the Grammys has been doing).

The Atlantic's David Sims dubbed the new bracket "The Black Panther Memorial Award for Movie That We're Afraid Won't Get a Best Picture Nomination", while Vulture's Mark Harris deemed it a "special fake Oscar" for the first superhero film with a primarily black cast.

The move might also be an attempt to boost viewership of the Oscars telecast. Next year's 91st Awards will take place in its traditional late February slot, but in the following year, it will be held on Sunday, February 9. However, while the film earned Heath Ledger a posthumous award for his supporting role as the Joker, the film itself was left out of the Best Picture category.

The Academy has also announced future televised ceremonies will be limited to 3 hours, again with an eye to making the telecast more palpable to larger audiences. "We have the MTV Movie Awards for that kind of junk", he said.

Does that mean even less Academy recognition for similar films now that they may have a separate category?

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