Academy Awards To Introduce New Category For "Outstanding Achievement In Popular Film"

The Oscars Will Be Adding A New Category To Honor ‘Popular’ Movies

The Oscars are adding a new category to honour popular films and promising a brisk three-hour ceremony on a much earlier air date of February 9, 2020.

In a message to its membership, the group's president John Bailey and its CEO Dawn Hudson have announced that the Oscars broadcast will now include a new category for outstanding achievement in popular film. Some awards will be presented live while others will be given out during the commercial breaks and edited into clips to be shown later.

We'll address points 1 and 3 in a bit, but it's point 2 - the new category for popular film - that's getting people talking today.

Warren Beatty's old! Well, the Academy plans to remedy that, and to paraphrase Bobby D's Oscar-winning song, things will change.

Critics have mocked the move as 'the Black Panther award'. The eligibility dates for Oscar releases and the voting period, meanwhile, will remain the same.

Next year's Oscars, which is scheduled for February 24, is unchanged. And that's saying a lot since you awarded Best Picture to Crash.

It's hard to read this as anything but an acknowledgement of the continued complaint that the ceremony's major categories, specifically Best Picture, often highlight indie films and small-scale dramas, many of which haven't even been screened in certain parts of the United States and the world at the time of the Oscars telecast.

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- A new category is being designed around achievement in popular film. Naturally, many are speculating that this will be the Academy's way of recognizing cultural and financial phenomenon Black Panther without actually giving it a nod for the prestigious award. Fans of the awards show took to Twitter in response to the announcement, pointing out that the difference between the new category and best picture is unclear and adding that it's unfair to not have recognition for stunt work and choreography, or voice acting performances.

In a letter sent to members, the Academy also announced that the telecast will now be kept to under three hours which means that some of the 24 categories will be announced during commercial breaks and then edited into the ceremony later on. While the Board of Governors probably hoped the fresh category would excite viewers and perhaps get those ratings up - spoiler alert - Hollywood pretty much hates it.

We are excited about these steps, and look forward to sharing more details with you. The date for the 2019 show, February 24, remains unchanged.

In 1929 at the first Oscars ceremony, the Academy awarded films in two separate categories - Outstanding Picture and Unique And Artistic Picture - both considered the top awards of the night. The telecast is an important showcase for the film industry, and nominated movies typically attract a new wave of ticket buyers.

As a effect, the United Kingdom equivalent - the BAFTA Film Awards - are likely to take place earlier in the year from 2020.

And that's just it; while the Academy is trying to stay relevant in an ever-changing media landscape, this newfangled "Popular Film" category is bound to be controversial.

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