The Academy is reconsidering the idea of a Best Popular Film Oscar, but will not implement it in 2019. Awards season is just heating up as the Toronto International Film Festival kicks off today, but The Academy didn't wait for festivals to begin to announce major shakeups were coming. The biggest news came when the Board of Governors decided to add a category that rewards "popular films." The idea was heavily scrutinized online, with only a handful of people coming to the defense of the category.
Not only were people surprised by this new category, but it was being fast-tracked to be included in the 2019 show. Films like Avengers: Infinity War, Black Panther, and Mission: Impossible - Fallout became front-runners to many to take home the award, even though Chadwick Boseman wanted a Best Picture push for his MCU film instead. Well, now there is no other option for Black Panther or any other film for that matter.
The Academy announced today that they are not going to present a Best Popular Film award for the 91st Oscars in 2019. The award instead is going to be re-examined as the Academy believes it "merits further study." There was concern about implementing the award just a few months before voting begins, and the Academy will instead "seek additional input regarding this category" before moving forward. Here is what Academy CEO Dawn Hudson had to say:
There has been a wide range of reactions to the introduction of a new award, and we recognize the need for further discussion with our members. We have made changes to the Oscars over the years - including this year - and we will continue to evolve while also respecting the incredible legacy of the last 90 years.
The decision to remove the Best Popular Film award is already being met with a ton of praise. Many saw the integration of the idea as a cheap way for the ceremony to try and attract more viewers by nominating the latest MCU, DC, or Star Wars film, which most don't believe are films worthy of such acclaim. There were even arguments that this was an award that voters can fall back on moving forward to guarantee movies like Black Panther or Wonder Woman get an Oscar. Instead, films like Infinity War will just have to settle for the hundreds of millions of dollars they make at the box office.
However, this is not the end of the award. While many were quick to judge, the Academy never gave the specifications about the award. Figuring out the guidelines for what makes a film popular is the first step for the award, which is surely what will be at the heart of the Academy's meetings with its members. Once they figure out the right way to present the award (and maybe even a name change), this award will be implemented. It may not be happening next year, but expect some version of the Best Popular Film award to arrive in the future.
Source: The Academy