Oscars to add ‘best popular film’ award, shorten gala

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The popular film category will be implemented during the 91st annual Academy Awards which will take place February 24, 2019.

Academy president John Bailey and chief executive officer Dawn Hudson announced the move yesterday, along with a package of reforms aimed at keeping the annual movie awards, which began in 1929, "relevant in a changing world". "That's what the Teen Choice Awards are for".

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, on Wednesday, announced some major changes to be effected from Oscars 2020. "Popular films" are often the mainstream smash hits that resonate with the general audience but not so much with Academy voters, creating a sharp divide between voters and viewers in the process.


Big changes are coming to the Academy Awards, including the addition of a popular film award category and the promise of a shorter ceremony in an effort to combat declining viewership and criticisms that the awards are out of touch with the mainstream.

In 2009, it expanded the number of best picture nominees from five to 10 in a bid to open up the competition.

When comedian Jimmy Kimmel hosted this year's Oscars, he may have unwittingly foreshadowed the controversy when he joked that blockbuster movie "Black Panther" had been so successful it was already the favorite to not get nominated the next year. After all, those CGI-heavy blockbusters accounted for half of the top ten highest-grossing films previous year and they have massive fanbases who might just tune in to the Oscars if their favorite movie were in the running.


The Academy did not offer specifics about how the category will be defined.

There are exceptions, of course, like when "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King" won Best Picture in 2003, or win "Annie Hall" did the same in 1977. It implies that popular films, no matter how masterful they can be, are not worth honoring, which is just disgusting, if I'm to speak plainly.

Ratings for the 90th Academy Awards fell to an all-time low of 26.5 million viewers, down 19 percent from the previous year and the first time the glitzy awards ceremony had fewer than 30 million viewers since 2008.


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