Published: Wed, August 08, 2018
Entertaiment | By Paul Elliott

Oscars add popular film category, sets earlier 2020 date

Oscars add popular film category, sets earlier 2020 date

The 2018 awards show, which clocked in at nearly four hours, was the least-watched Oscars to date.

The Atlantic's David Sims dubbed the new bracket "The Black Panther Memorial Award for Movie That We're Afraid Won't Get a Best Picture Nomination", while Vulture's Mark Harris deemed it a "special fake Oscar" for the first superhero film with a primarily black cast.

This could be huge for beloved blockbusters ranging from the MCU to the Wizarding World - but it also says a lot about how the Academy views popular films and their place in the industry's biggest night.

The Academy's board of governors met on Tuesday and reelected president John Bailey for a one year term. Bailey and Hudson said eligibility requirements will be determined at a later date. Starting next year, the ceremony will now be shown in what the Academy describes as "a more globally accessible, three-hour telecast". For comparison, last year's ceremony aired in early March and the upcoming 2019 show is set for February 24.

Finally, the date of 2020's Oscars has moved forward.

In a letter sent to members, the Academy also announced that the telecast will now be kept to under three hours which means that some of the 24 categories will be announced during commercial breaks and then edited into the ceremony later on. Specific categories will be determined at a later date, but the winning moments will be edited and aired in a later broadcast.

The addition of a popular film category caused the most chatter Wednesday morning, as a clear effort to attract a larger audience by honoring bigger and more seen films.

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 requirements aren't known just yet, though we assume it will be to integrate films that are more popular with the buying public rather than exclusively the critics. The Board of Governors took this charge seriously. "Popular films are films!" Is Best Popular Film a good idea or not?

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