Art And Culture

Oscars Introduces New Category for Outstanding Popular Films

It is the first time a new category has been announced since 2001.It is the first time a new category has been announced since 2001.

The Film Academy has revealed a series of changes to the Academy Awards that have major implications.

President John Bailey and CEO Dawn Hudson announced Wednesday the three key changes: shortening the telecast to a firm three hours, setting an earlier date for the ceremony itself, and, most importantly, adding a new category for outstanding achievement in popular film.

It marks the first time a new category has been announced since 2001, when best animated feature was added to the awards slate.

This is an enormous move for the Academy, a sign that the elite institution is once again trying to find more ways to reward the sorts of movies typically seen by the filmgoing public - and get more viewers to tune in to the annual ceremony.

Adding this category could, conceivably, help ameliorate accusations that the institution has fallen out of step with popular culture (a contributing factor to the ceremony’s diminishing viewership), wrote.

Though the Academy does not intimate this in its announcement, it is easy to imagine that this new category was inspired by the blockbuster success of Black Panther, whose domestic box office has grossed over $700 million.

This is the second time in recent memory that a major Academy change has hinged on the success of an incredibly popular, game-changing comic-book movie. Ten years ago, the Oscars did not nominate Christopher Nolan’s critically acclaimed blockbuster “The Dark Knight” for best picture, which inspired an immediate outcry - though Heath Ledger, who played the Joker in the film, went on to win a posthumous best-supporting-actor statuette.

In a move widely believed to be a response to the backlash, the Academy then broadened the best-picture category from 5 nominees to 10, adding wiggle room for movies that otherwise do not meet the institution’s stringent standards.

In 2001, the Academy also added a best-animated-film category, after complaints that the works of studios like Disney, Pixar and DreamWorks Animation were unfairly under-appreciated by the awards. The Academy has yet to award best picture to an animated film.


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