The Oscars will not introduce controversial 'popular film' category at 2019 awards show

The Academy 'will examine and seek additional input regarding the new category' before implementing any new changes, according to a statement

Chris Riotta
New York
Thursday 06 September 2018 22:07
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The Oscars has decided to scrap a new award category from its upcoming 2019 awards show in February after a wave of backlash
The Oscars has decided to scrap a new award category from its upcoming 2019 awards show in February after a wave of backlash

The Academy Awards has decided not to introduce a new Oscar for "outstanding achievement in popular film" after the idea drew widespread backlash.

It was not immediately clear how the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences was planning to use the popular film category, or how the new award would impact films that had already been released prior to the announcement.

"There has been a wide range of reactions to the introduction of a new award, and we recognise the need for further discussion with our members," Academy chief executive Dawn Hudson said in a statement on Thursday, announcing the suspension of the category, which was set to be included in the February 2019 awards show.

“We have made changes to the Oscars over the years — including this year — and we will continue to evolve while also respecting the incredible legacy of the last 90 years," the statement continued.

The Academy had reportedly devised the new category as part of an initiative to revive ratings for the annual awards show, which received just 26.5m viewers in March 2018, the lowest in its 90-year history, Reuters reported.

However, the organisation failed to disclose how it would determine eligibility for popular films, leading many critics to assume box office smash hits like Black Panther and other superhero movies would fare more favourably than smaller art house projects.

Instead, the Academy announced Thursday it would limit the upcoming show to just three hours, moving six to eight awards presentations into commercial breaks in an effort to reduce the overall length of the broadcast.

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In its statement, the organisation admit that "implementing any new awards nine months into the year creates challenges for films that have already been released".

The Academy has said it "will examine and seek additional input regarding the new category" before implementing it into any upcoming awards shows.

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