Published: Thu, August 09, 2018
Entertaiment | By Simon Arnold

Oscars To Launch A New 'Popular Film' Category

Oscars To Launch A New 'Popular Film' Category

The Academy is making some changes, and they are-to be frank-absolutely awful.

The biggest change to the Academy Awards comes in the addition of a new category that is being designed around achievement in a popular film.

Additionally, the 2020 Academy Awards will have an earlier date, moving from February 23 to February 9. And that's saying a lot since you awarded Best Picture to Crash.

Remember when Chris Rock Oscars hosted the Oscars in 2016 and he quizzed people on the street as to whether or not they'd seen the Academy Award-nominated movies from that year? The new category will be called the Outstanding Achievement in Popular Film and was announced by Academy President John Bailey and Academy CEO Dawn Hudson in a letter (via THR). For one, it denigrates blockbusters as not worthy of sitting at the adult's table-they have their own, special place.

The statement added that "eligibility requirements and other key details will be forthcoming", though it's quite reasonable to expect that the award will require a minimum box office gross to ensure only truly populist movies make the cut.

This year's ceremony saw the lowest United States viewership in history and the contending films were mainly lower budgeted fare with solid box office. And what criteria will be used to determine whether a film qualifies as "popular?" Yes, The Dark Knight is a very different movie than Moonlight, but that doesn't mean they're not both incredible filmmaking feats. And some Oscar-watchers wonder why there are no categories for stunt coordination or casting. Give me a break. Some awards will be presented live while others will be given out during the commercial breaks and edited into clips to be shown later. Getting an Oscar nomination is a huge, huge deal, whether it's for Best Actor or Best Costume Design.

The Academy has a long reputation of snubbing hit films whose genres aren't usually considered Oscar material. I think this is a bad-ass idea and one that will help them bring in new eyeballs. This decision will likely affect the timing of other awards, and the announcement of that year's Oscar nominees - no Hollywood agent is going to happily agree to cutting the time allotted for Oscar campaigns two weeks shorter.

The Academy is making some changes to the Oscars. It is not clear at this time if the Popular Film category will be added in time for 2019, but if so, we're expecting Star Wars, Marvel, and DC films will be in contention.

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