Following a wave of backlash, The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has decided not to move forward with the addition of a new category that would honor popular films at the 2019 Academy Awards. Ever since The Academy announced the popular film oscars category last month, it has been met with a tremendous amount of negativity from those working in the industry as well as from those who simply enjoy cinema. As such, the organization has shelved the idea. At least for the time being.
The decision came following a meeting with the board of governors this week. The exact parameters for the new category hadn't been made clear yet and with awards season ramping up in a big way, the pressure was on, aside from the negativity surrounding the new category. Taking all of that into account, they simply decided to not include the category in the Oscars next year. Academy CEO Dawn Hudson had this to say in a statement.
"There has been a wide range of reactions to the introduction of a new award, and we recognize the need for further discussion with our members. We have made changes to the Oscars over the years, including this year, and we will continue to evolve while also respecting the incredible legacy of the last 90 years."
There are a couple of ways to read such a response. It's possible that the organization is actually going to table the discussion and will look to revisit the idea ahead of the 2020 Oscars broadcast. Alternatively, this could be a way for them to just quietly move away from the idea altogether. In any event, they still need to be concerned with declining ratings when it comes to the Oscars, which is why they wanted to add such a category in the first place.
The inclusion of a category specifically designed to honor popular movieswould help ensure that titles such as Black Panther, Avengers: Infinity War, Crazy Rich Asians or Ready Player One could get recognition and help bring in more casual moviegoers to the broadcast. However, much of the backlash centered on the idea that putting a movie like Black Panther, which was a monstrous critical and commercial success, in thepopular film category and not in Best Picture, would diminish its accomplishments. For the time being at least, that's not going to be a concern and Black Panther can try to become the first ever comic book movie to earn a Best Picture nomination.
Even though the category has been tabled, big changes are still on the way. To keep the broadcast under three hours, The Academy will still give out several awards at the Dolby Theater during commercial breaks and edit the presentations down in order to show them later. At the present time, it isn't clear which categories will be presented during commercial breaks, but it's expected that the short-film and technical awards will end up in that spot. The 91st Oscars telecast is set to air on Sunday, February 24, 2019. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences made the announcement of the delay.