Oscars Scrap 'Popular Film' Category Following Massive Backlash

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Less than a month after announcing the Oscars‘ new Best Popular Film category, which was to make its debut at the 2019 ceremony, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has opted to shelve the category for at least a year.

In a statement on Thursday, Academy CEO Dawn Hudson said the category “merits further study” and may be introduced at a future Oscars broadcast, though it will not be part of the 91st Academy Awards in February 2019.

“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,” Hudson said. “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.”

Though the Academy said it remains “committed to celebrating a wide spectrum of movies,” the organization acknowledged that unveiling a new category late in the summer “creates challenges for films that have already been released.”

The new category, first announced in August, was to recognize “achievement in popular film,” though criteria for potential nominees were not made clear at the time. The news was quickly met with criticism, particularly regarding the potential overlap between movies in the “popular film” category and those that would also be nominated for Best Picture.

The Academy also aims to cut future Oscar broadcasts down to three hours. To that end, select categories among the 24 typically presented on-air will instead be awarded during commercial breaks, with those winning moments getting edited down for air later in the broadcast.

The 91st Academy Awards will air Sunday, Feb. 24, 2019, on ABC. Are you glad the Academy is doing away with this category (for now)? Hit the comments below with your thoughts.