Oscars Adding A Popular Film Category, Sets Hard Time Limit On Broadcast

Credit: The Academy

Hollywood’s Biggest Night is about to go through some pretty major changes, for better or for worse remains to be seen.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced some sweeping changes will be implemented in future Oscars telecasts. One such thing is a new category for Outstanding Achievement in Popular Film, but did not provide more information than that.

In a statement provided to the media, the organization, represented by president John Bailey and its CEO Dawn Hudson, said.

“While the details for a popular film category are still being finalized, a single film is eligible for an Oscar in both categories — outstanding achievement in popular film and the Academy Award for best picture. The new category will be introduced this coming year, at the 91st Oscars. In creating this award, the Board of Governors supports broad-based consideration of excellence in all films.”

In the past several years, the Best Picture category has been populated by more arthouse fair such as Moonlight and The Shape of Water. (Both are excellent movies that should be watched by more people by the way, especially Moonlight.)

There was a pretty big bid to get 2017’s Wonder Woman nominated along with director Patty Jenkins. We imagine that Black Panther will get a similar push this year as well. Usually, such films have been largely relegated to the technical award categories.

A perusal of Google will show that not many people are thrilled about this new push with outlets like Variety and Rolling Stone blasting the decision.

In addition to the new category, the show will also not present all awards during the broadcast. Instead, they plan on adopting a model that the Tony’s have been using for years with some categories being presented during commercial breaks. The hope is that it will lead to a less bloated three-hour runtime for the notoriously long award show.

All these plans are one with the hope of attracting a wider audience to view the ceremony, which airs on ABC. They hope that with these changes along with adding more diverse members to its roster, it will lead to a ratings bump.

We shall see.

Bec Heim

Senior Editor at 4YE
Rebecca "Bec" Heim is the Senior Editor for 4YE. She has a BA in English Literature from the University of Scranton. She also has an MA in Film-Radio-Television from Syracuse University and an MFA in Screenwriting from Boston University. She enjoys reading through her ever growing mountain of books, talking way too much about superheroes, and trying to reach transcendental state.
Bec Heim