The Oscars have always been a bit of a popularity contest, but a new award for "outstanding achievement in popular film" is set to shake things up a bit. As THR points out, the most successful movies at the box office each year are rarely represented in the main categories and usually have to make do with technical awards.
The most intriguing part of this - not marking my calendar for 2020 yet, sorry - is the one about "popular film". But first: the Academy is serious about a three-hour telecast ("We are committed to producing an entertaining show in three hours, delivering a more accessible Oscars for our viewers worldwide"), and the date of the 92nd Oscars has been moved up, from February 23, 2020 to Feb. 9 (next year's Oscars will remain on Feb 24, 2019).
Ironically, the Academy will look like it had a great idea here next Oscarcast, but a lot of that will be if the billion-dollar ceiling-shattering zeitgeist Marvel movie Black Panther gets nominations, especially if the film is in the mix for Best Picture. Further details and eligibility requirements are yet to be announced, but the category is expected to cater to more blockbuster and genre films, often seen as maligned by awards ceremonies. The date change will not affect awards eligibility dates or the voting process.
To keep the ceremony to three hours, the academy vows to present only select categories live. Winning moments will be edited and later aired during the broadcast.
Last year, "Wonder Woman's" complete shutout aroused an uproar from many who consider the first female-headlined superhero film award-worthy, and as Woerner pointed out, Christopher Nolan's "The Dark Knight" was nominated for eight Academy Awards, but not best picture. The dirty (not so) secret of the Academy Awards is that they've never really been a benchmark of excellence to begin with. The Board of Governors took this charge seriously.
Popular film? What is this?