The Academy Awards (AKA the Oscars) are the highest honour someone working in the film industry can achieve and a set of 24 awards are given out every year. But just this week, that number is now 25. That’s right, as of August 9, 2018, The Academy will have a new category: Best Popular Film.
As the name suggests, the new category is awarded for achievement in popular film. Its creation is seemingly in response to the decreasing ratings that the Oscars have received in previous years. In addition to the new category, The Academy will also air the awards at an earlier date, on February 9, 2019, and plan a more globally accessible three-hour telecast. Although The Academy is taking some steps, is it too little, and perhaps too late? Many think so.
The new addition has received backlash from the general public, filmmakers, and celebrities. One of the main criticisms is that the category is hard to define. Can a movie be Best Picture and Best Popular Film?
last year's Best Picture nominees to gross over $100 million were GET OUT and DUNKIRK; imagine if both had been shoved into "Best Popular Film" instead and ignored by voters for the big category— David Sims (@davidlsims) August 8, 2018
Some think that perhaps the new category will serve as a ‘Second Best Picture’ category. Would films like last year’s popular Get Out be nominated for best picture or best popular film? Is this category only for blockbusters? With this new category, people are questioning if films selected will be a lesser category and therefore, not be considered for Best Picture.
Despite the controversy, the decision appears to be final. Therefore we can only anticipate how the public would really react when we know about the nominations next January.