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Oscars To Launch A New 'Popular Film' Category
08 August 2018, 08:44 | Elsie Buchanan
Image The new category for popular film has proved controversial
It's among three changes approved on Tuesday by the Academy's board of governors.
The devil is in the details.
An outstanding popular film category may also go some way to allay criticism that numerous films acknowledged by the Oscars are "increasingly irrelevant" and do not reflect what the viewing public want to watch.
From next year, there will be an award for outstanding achievement in popular film, the first time a new Oscar has been introduced since best animated film in 2001.
It also announced that presentation would be aired at a much earlier date than expected, in February 2020.
The 91st Annual Academy Awards, honoring the film achievements of 2018, will take place February 24, 2019. Starting next year, the ceremony will now be shown in what the Academy describes as "a more globally accessible, three-hour telecast".
To accommodate a three-hour ceremony, the Academy will present select categories live in the Dolby Theatre and during commercial breaks. The body stated that the smaller awards will be presented during the telecast's commercial breaks, with the winning moments aired later in the broadcast.
This complaint has already spawned some changes to the Academy's annual ceremony, most notably a decision in 2009 to expand Best Picture nominees from five to 10 in part because one of 2008's most acclaimed films, The Dark Knight, was left out of the Best Picture category that year.
The statement added that "eligibility requirements and other key details will be forthcoming", though it's quite reasonable to expect that the award will require a minimum box office gross to ensure only truly populist movies make the cut. They argue the change "will not affect awards eligibility dates or the voting process". Is Best Popular Film a good idea or not?
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. What we do know, though, is that the Academy has just taken a major step in the direction of focusing more on blockbusters, which are often viewed as a kind of art form unto themselves.
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