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After the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced a new category at the upcoming Oscars, it turns out the award won’t be recognized at the 2019 award ceremony as planned.
The would-have-been Popular Achievement in Film category was was met with criticism and backlash when it was announced last month. Critics complained the new award was “damaging” to the industry by “pandering to pedestrian tastes,” NPR explains. And so, the Academy’s board of governors will continue to research the possibility of a popularity Oscar.
“The Academy recognized that implementing any new award nine months into the year creates challenges for films that have already been released,” a statement from the Academy reads. It promised to “examine and seek additional input regarding this category.”
The Academy hoped that adding a popular film category was a way to draw mainstream moviegoers to the Oscar broadcast, which has seen declining ratings. Academy CEO Dawn Hudson acknowledged in the release that the board plans to discuss a prospective new award further in response to the variety of reactions they received from their announcement. On the other hand, Academy president John Bailey told the Associated Press he was surprised by the negative reaction to the popular achievement category, citing it as a way to recognize the different kinds of films created today.
“The idea of this award was not about trying to make sure that certain kinds of big mass market pictures get recognized. To my mind, it’s more about the kind of pictures that are so difficult to get made,” Bailey said.
The nomination criteria for this new category remains undefined, but Bailey explained that both release size and box office would factor into the decision making process, explaining how a film such as Black Panther or an animated film could potentially be submitted, and even win, both Best Picture and Popular Film.
Other changes to the award show in progress include shortening and restructuring the extended broadcast to three hours. This includes presenting six to eight categories live during the broadcast, where the winning moments will be edited and aired later. The selected categories will be rotated each year, the release explains, and will be selected by the Academy and show producers.
The newly formatted 91st Academy Awards will air on Feb.ruary 24.