Oscars: Academy to add achievement in popular film category

HOLLYWOOD CA- MARCH 04 Review of the Oscar statue at the 90th Annual Academy Awards at Hollywood & Highland Center

Almost a decade after expanding its Best Picture category to include up to 10 nominees in an effort to feature a wider variety of films, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is making another big change that could mean more spotlight time for genre films and blockbusters.

The film academy is also shifting the date for the 92nd Academy Awards to earlier in the year. "The winning moments will then be edited and aired later in the broadcast".

In addition, the next Oscars will include a new category for "outstanding achievement in popular film", with specific details to follow. This year's Best Picture victor, The Shape of Water, made a solid $63 million at the United States box office, but this was in huge contrast to the enormous success of movies such as Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Wonder Woman, and Spider-Man: Homecoming, none of which were featured in the main categories. The People's Choice Awards already exist, and most "popular" films already get one award: money.

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.

The airdate has been bumped up just for the 2020 telecast ― from February 23 to February 9 for 2020. The date change will not affect awards eligibility dates or the voting process.

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The next Oscars air Sunday, February 24, 2019.

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. The next ceremony will be the 91st Academy Awards. The Board of Governors took this charge seriously.

It means films which are popular with the public but not with critics could be much more likely to be recognised.

Others blasted the academy with insults, calling the new changes "inane" and those who made them "cowards", while "Lord of the Rings" veteran Elijah Wood simply tweeted, "Best Popular Film? oof".

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