According to a recent report, Academy members have said that they wouldn’t be surprised if the Oscars Popular Filmcategory gets scrapped completely. In early August, The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences revealed their plans to instate a new category that would honor “popular films” at the 2019 Oscars. The Academy has been tight-lipped regarding specific details about the new category, but it seems to be tailored for big summer blockbusters and superhero films.
Though the Academy might have had good intentions, the “Popular Film” category wasn’t well received by the public. Many outlets and people on social media have called the "Popular Film" award an insult, while others claim it’s simply the Academy's a feeble attempt to boost dwindling ratings. Whatever the case, the category has become extremely controversial. The Academy hasn’t officially responded to the backlash; however, several Academy members recently shared that they wouldn’t be surprised if the new award gets scrapped.
The LA Times recently released an article detailing Black Panther’s hunt for a Best Picture nomination at the 2019 Oscars. In the article, they reference the new Popular Film category as a wildcard that could hurt the film’s hopes for a Best Picture nod. However, many Academy members that they spoke to shared their opinion on whether or not the new award would even be included in future ceremonies. The excerpt from the article reads as follows: "Several academy members say they wouldn’t be surprised if the academy backtracks and delays presenting the award this year or scraps it altogether."
While the Academy hasn’t officially commented on the matter, the above excerpt is very intriguing. By now, the Academy has certainly heard all the complaints surrounding the new category and seem to be debating whether to move forward as planned. Which makes complete sense, since the idea of a Popular Film category is completely divisive and problematic. On one hand, it would be a nice change of pace to see more mainstream films included in future Oscar ceremonies. On the other hand, the whole award could be seen as a consolation prize. If genuinely award worthy films like Black Panther get snubbed for Best Picture, but get placed in the popular film category, it seems like the Academy is just judging films based on genre rather than content.
Apart from the new Popular Film category, the Academy has struggled to understand the current status of film culture. A few years ago, the Oscars were slammed for not being inclusive; however, they have taken steps to rectify that by including more films starring and directed by people of color. Now they face the issue of genre bias by excluding horror, science fiction and superhero films – with a few exceptions. The two problems aren’t comparative when it comes to social importance, though it does speak to how the Academy needs to evolve. Hopefully, the Academy will act accordingly in the face of public concern and start judging the content and importance of a film regardless of what genre it happens to be in.
Source: LA Times