Oscars bosses to honour blockbusters with new popular film category

Oscars to create new award for popular movies, cut TV ceremony to three hours

It is good news for sequels and superheroes, as the Academy announced a brand new category for the Oscars.

The U.S. television audience for the March 2018 Oscar ceremony was the smallest in the awards' 90-year history. 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.

Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences president John Bailey who is serving his second announced this the creation of a new category being designed around achievement in popular film. "Popular films" are often the mainstream smash hits that resonate with the general audience but not so much with Academy voters, creating a sharp divide between voters and viewers in the process.

ABC and Disney reportedly pushed for the new Best Popular Film Oscar category to be included during the Academy Awards ceremony.

The Academy did not offer specifics about how the category will be defined.

The board reelected Bailey in a meeting held late on Tuesday; these changes were also regulated then.

"There's a lot of reasons to believe that would have shaken up the hidebound ideas of what an Oscar movie is", she said.

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Gregory Ellwood, the editor-at-large of The Playlist, noted that in the past decade there have been a significant number of $100 million-plus earners nominated for best picture, like "Gravity", "Dunkirk", "GASAt Out", "Toy Story 3", "The Help", and the "The Revenant", and some of which went on to win, like "Argo", "The King's Speech", and "Slumdog Millionaire".

In recent years, the Academy Awards have continuously suffered from low ratings.

However, ScreenCrush describes the new category as a "desperate ratings grab" that could hurt films such as Black Panther in the long run. Including past winners that are blockbuster films like Titanic and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.

Some commentators are suggesting that the blockbuster success of Black Panther may have inspired the new category, the first addition to the gongs line-up since Best Animated Feature was introduced in 2002.

Critics (myself included) of this decision are arguing that the Popular Film Oscar is nothing more than a consolation reward for financially and critically successful mainstream films that would otherwise be left out of the Oscars in favor of more traditional Oscar fare.

Race issues have overshadowed the Oscars for years.

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