The academy says it will postpone the Oscars’ new “popular film” category


The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has said it is holding off on introducing its new “achievement in popular film category” after all. The academy announced Thursday that, after a meeting with the organization’s board of governors on Tuesday, it has decided to postpone adding the new “popular film” category it announced in August.

“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,” academy CEO Dawn Hudson said Thursday, according to the Hollywood Reporter. “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.”

Jordan Strauss/AP

Earlier this summer, the academy had announced a series of new changes for the upcoming 91st Academy Awards in February, including the new award for “outstanding achievement in popular film.” But backlash to the proposed new category was swift — just after the change was announced, New York Times film critic Manohla Dargis tweeted, “what a fucking stupid, insulting and pathetically desperate change.”

Many saw the change as a ploy to offer a kind of backup prize to popular blockbusters that also earned critical acclaim — like the mega successful Black Panther — without actually acknowledging them in the best picture category. It also seemed like an attempt to boost the awards show’s audience amid declining viewership.

In the announcement Thursday from the academy, the organization said it had recognized that “implementing any new award nine months into the year creates challenges for films that have already been released,” and that the board of governors would “examine and seek additional input regarding this category.”

The academy didn’t offer any hard and fast details about when, or if, we will see the popular film category implemented. It did, however, set a new date for the 92nd Oscars — mark your calendars for Sunday, Feb. 9, 2020.