The Oscars Are Adding a New Category for “Outstanding Popular Film”

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Scott Feinberg is reporting that the Academy have 
announced three big changes for the Oscars telecast, including the peculiar addition of a new category: “Best Popular Film.”

Yes, AMPAS president John Bailey and CEO Dawn Hudson are officially now trying to erase the importance of the Academy Awards by, as Jeff Wells so eloquently put it, "trying to adhere to the "short-attention-span dumb-asses who have long resented that the Best Picture Oscar is more often than not won by some kind of highbrow film that Joe and Jane Popcorn are either reluctant to see or haven’t seen at all."

This new category sounds like it belongs more at the Nickelodeon awards or the People’s Choice awards than the Oscars.

Does that mean escapism like "Mission: Impossible - Fallout" and "Black Panther" will stand no chance at being nominated for the actual Best Picture prize? Sure looks like it. You think 'Panther' director Ryan Coogler is happy about this? Of course not. Don't even ask about Marvel were banking on legitimizing their movies within the industry with a Best Picture nomination.

Coincidence or not, 'Panther' just crossed the $700 million mark domestically. I wonder what the coincidence was behind the Academy's announcement happening right after that milestone. Do they fear that "Black Panther" might be a major player for the Best Picture Oscar and would rather relegate it to a "popcorn" category? 

This is the Academy saying "No superhero flick, especially 'Panther,' should ever come close to the prestige categories that are the bread and butter of our show. We won't ever let that happen." Now, I am looking forward to the social media backlash, already happening might I add, which will surely lead to a heavy campaign to have Coogler's movie crack the Best Picture category.

This is also a "selling out" to studios, a compromise, by creating an additional category for the likes of Disney, Marvel, Pixar etc.

The Oscars also announced that they will a) be moving the ceremony up to February 9th, two weeks earlier than usual, this makes the nominating period very short, and b) many of the tech categories will be relegated to off-air awards-giving. If you're a fan of the sound editing category then that's a major bummer for you. 

The Oscar's sink to new ratings lows every year, and Marvel, the industry's tentpole company, is barely, if ever, recognized by them, this is was a no-brainer, capitalist-oriented decision by the Academy today and know what? I don't think it'll make a cinch of a difference.