That New Popular Film Category At The Oscars Might Not Be Happening After Widespread Backlash

Who says public outcry doesn’t work?

Shortly after the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced it would be adding a “Popular Film” category to its annual Oscars, the Twitterverse responded with ire. The new category’s reveal came in early August and appeared to be the Academy’s attempt at rectifying the 2018 production’s low ratings.

However, on Sept. 6, the Academy released a statement confirming it would be holding off on the “Popular Film” category, stating, “[We] recognized that implementing any new award nine months into the year creates challenges for films that have already been released.” 

Based on the statement, the Academy will be seeking “additional input” as to whether the category will be implemented for the 92nd annual ceremony in 2020.

“We recognize the need for further discussion with our members,” Dawn Hudson, CEO of the Academy, added. 

Hudson also said in an interview that the intention was to “evolve” the Oscars.  

Much of the criticism over the new category came from fans of Black Panther, the film based on Marvel’s revolutionary black superhero. It was suggested that adding “Popular Film” was an opportunity for the Oscars to snub Ryan Coogler’s film in the “Best Picture” category while still offering it a chance at taking home an award. 

While there is still concern that Black Panther will be overlooked without the new category, Turner Classic Movies host and Today Show correspondent Dave Kargar is optimistic.

As for the need to change things up, the Academy may be looking at the relatively telling numbers of the 90th annual ceremony. The 2018 Oscars saw a 19% decrease in viewership, garnering an average of 26.5 million viewers (live+same day). It was a nine-year low, and one that the Academy doesn’t want to repeat. 

The addition of the “Popular Film” category came in lieu of the often suggested “Best Stunts” award. 

For now, the Oscars may stay the same, but if the low ratings repeat, some changes will definitely be on the horizon.

H/T: Huffington Post, Deadline, Vanity Fair, Time