Announced on Wednesday afternoon, the 2019 Oscars will include a brand new category for Outstanding Achievement in Popular Film which seems to be a way for the film body - who traditionally have been criticised for ignoring popular genre films in favour of stuffy dramas - to reconnect more with the masses.
The U.S. television audience for the nearly four-hour Oscar ceremony in March 2018 was just 26.5 million viewers, the smallest in the history of the 90 year-old Academy Awards. Following that, the ABC/Disney executives reportedly met with the Academy board again to have an honest discussion about what they felt needed to change in order to get the ratings back up.
"The last thing that the Academy should now be doing is creating a reactionary new category that is, in effect, the Popular Ghetto", said Owen Gleiberman, the chief film critic for Hollywood news outlet Variety. Not to be confused with the "Best Picture" award, the additional category is causing quite the uproar on social media. This year's ceremony took place on March 9, 2018.
Bailey and Hudson said eligibility requirements will be determined at a later date, but it is worth noting that other top film categories like the best animated feature and best foreign language film don't prohibit a best picture nomination. Hosted by Jimmy Kimmel, the ceremony also clocked it at almost four hours, making it the longest show in over a decade.
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The Academy said it will trim the duration of the Oscars ceremony by handing out some awards during commercial breaks.
Edited excerpts of those presentations will then be shown during the broadcast. The award has also honored lesser-known films like Spotlight and The Shape of Water. Honoring only some defeats the objective of a once great award show. The Academy already has the Best Picture category. "They initially tried to do something similar about a decade ago when they extended the amount of Best Picture nominees from 5 to 10, because of the uproar when popular movies like "WALL-E" and "The Dark Knight" were being excluded from Best Picture nominations".
This story was reported by The Associated Press.