The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has scrapped plans to introduce a new ‘popular film‘ category at the Oscars in 2019.
The Academy initially floated the idea last month that they would add a new award to next year’s ceremony that would recognise “outstanding achievement in popular film”, reportedly in a bid to boost ratings – which dropped to a record low this year – and appease fans who feel that the best film award had sidelined blockbusters in favour of more niche offerings.
But a meeting of the Academy’s board of governors on Wednesday saw a majority of 54 members vote to postpone the award, at least for the 2019 ceremony, which is set to take place on 24th February.
The decision comes after the proposed award was met with bemusement by the press and film fans on social media.
New #Oscars category. Not sure how I feel about this. It’s a way for the Academy to recognize pop films, but also a cop-out not to nominate acclaimed box office winners for Best Picture. Seems like they just want to continue to nominate sleepy, pretentious indy films.
“I wasn’t expecting that kind of knee-jerk reaction, largely from journalists,” Academy president John Bailey told The Hollywood Reporter.
“I don’t know why that happened because these are the same people who have also criticised the Academy for being quote unquote irrelevant and not actually addressing the taste of people that go to the movies. The same people who have criticised us for irrelevance and elitism now suddenly were the guardians at the gate, talking about the bowdlerisation of the Oscars.”
Bailey was a fan of the idea, and says that it was “misinterpreted” in the media.