Published: Mon, August 13, 2018
Arts&Culture | By Matthew Castillo

Oscar's new popular film category sparks backlash

Oscar's new popular film category sparks backlash

The ratings for the Oscars awards ceremony, as a television event, have been dropping steadily for years, with last years' program on ABC the least watched in history. Then, they suggested fixes including adding the popular film category. It's not unrealistic to say that people watching at home might care more for the Best Actor award, as opposed to something like Best Film Editing.

The Oscars will introduce a new award for popular films and the annual ceremony will be limited to three hours, organizers said on Wednesday, in a bid to stave off slumping audiences for the movie industry's most prestigious honours. Among the changes made were an earlier broadcast date (moving them from March to February), a cap to the length of the ceremony being three hours, presenting some awards during the commercial breaks and showcasing the winners in a montage during the night and, the most controversial, creating a Best Popular Film category. It's an excuse for the Academy to throw highly-acclaimed box office hits into a category that Academy voters know would never get a Best Picture nomination *cough Black Panther cough*.

The Academy could have waited to see the impact on the best picture race from its push to diversify its membership, Willmore said. After all, those CGI-heavy blockbusters accounted for half of the top ten highest-grossing films a year ago and they have massive fanbases who might just tune in to the Oscars if their favorite movie were in the running. It could also free the academy from having to acknowledge superhero movies, and other films its traditionally shunned, as contenders for Best Picture.

Plus, there's the whole "popular films should already be nominated" argument. It implies that popular films, no matter how masterful they can be, are not worth honoring, which is just disgusting, if I'm to speak plainly.

Earlier this year, the 90th Oscars on March 4 lasted almost four hours, and posted all-time low television ratings with 26.5 million viewers.

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