The Academy Of Motion Picture Arts And Sciences Suspends “Popular Film” Oscar Category

by Erik Amaya


While it would be nice to see action films get some sort of acknowledgement — like recognizing the stunt performers or coordinators with an Oscar — the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ attempt to introduce a “Popular Film” category at the Oscars was met with almost instant derision. And, according to an Academy press release sent out Wednesday, the category has been dropped from the 92nd Academy Awards next February as it “merits further study.”
In a statement, Academy CEO Dawn Hudson said “we recognize the need for further discussions with our members” regarding the category, which garnered a “wide range of reactions” after it was announced on August 8th. At the time, the Academy had little else to say about it except the name — “Outstanding Achievement in Popular Film” — which left may to accuse the Academy of pandering to viewers of the awards telecast, and others to point out most winners of the Best Picture category tend to be commercially successful. Still others wondered if the category was a response to the real possibility of Marvel Studios’ Black Panther receiving a Best Picture nomination. To them, “Popular Film” was an attempt to ghetto-ized the film; just as the Best Animated Feature category was introduced after Disney’s Beauty and the Beast earned a Best Picture nod.
In any event, most of the changes announced in August regard the telecast more than anything else, with awards continuing to be announced while the telecast is on commercial breaks next year. Speeches from those awards will be edited together into a montage during the broadcast. Common wisdom holds that the television special is just too long for most viewers and the focus on technical awards they will never understand — like Sound Effects Editing — is a key part of the problem.
Then again, maybe seeing Black Panther as a Best Picture contender will see the audiences coming back for the awards show.

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