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The Oscars Nixes Its “Popular Films” Category!

The Oscars Nixes Its “Popular Films” Category!

UPDATE, 9/6/18 – Having really taken all the backlash against their addition of a Achievement in Popular Film category to hear, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has announced that it is nixing the idea altogether… at least for now.

A press release from the Academy, published on Thursday, states, “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.”

Other previously announced changes, like a hard limit on the telecast, and the presentation of certain awards during commercial breaks, are still expected to take effect in the upcoming Oscars ceremony. But here’s hoping that the Popular Film category is gone for good, and that the Academy may recognize that popular films can and should be considered as precisely what they are: films.

8/8/18 – The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has been around for over 90 years, and they are slow to make changes, but they just made their biggest change in years. The Academy tweeted on Wednesday morning that they are adding a new category for the Oscars, designed “around achievement in popular film.” They have also set an earlier air date for their 2020 awards ceremony, telling fans to mark their calendars for February 9. And finally, they are planning a more “globally accessible, three-hour telecast” for the Academy Awards.

The biggest news here is obviously the addition of the new category. For the last several decades, the Oscars have grown snobbier, with rare exceptions. Years ago, popular blockbusters like Star Wars, Raiders of the Lost Ark, E.T., and others were nominated alongside more serious dramas. Even comedy films were once nominated! But at some point, the Academy decided to snub just about any film which A: had an escapist element to it, and B: made a lot of money. There are exceptions to this rule–obviously Lord of the Rings: Return of the King’s win in 2004 springs to mind, and Avatar was nominated in 2010, But for a recent example of how big the Academy’s anti-blockbuster mentality goes, we remind you that The Dark Knight was never nominated.

So expect the Best Picture category to stay “Best Drama That Makes You Cry,” and this new category to be the one where you pull for the big franchise movie you love, or maybe that exceptional comedy. With Oscar ratings dipping over the past few years, this move is no doubt the Academy’s way of getting more eyeballs on the ceremony itself. Also, keeping the ceremony at three hours and trimming some fat from around the event might help their ratings too.

What do you think of these changes coming to the Oscars? Will it make you more likely to watch? Let us know your thoughts down below in the comments.

Featured Image: Davidlohr Bueso via Wikimedia Commons

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