Popular Film Category Leaves the Oscars Before It Premieres


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The Academy’s decision to postpone the Oscars’ newest category comes after widespread debate over the merits of “popular” films.

Joshua Perry, Co-Editor-In-Chief

The Oscars will be postponing their controversial new “Achievement in Popular Film” category this year, saying that it “merits further study.”

The announcement, coming in the form of a statement released by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences on Sept. 5, comes about a month after the category’s introduction 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, according to the statement.  “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 new category was considered by many as an attempted solution to the downturn in Oscars viewership, which hit a record low last year. Senior Isabella Brown believes that the change could make a real difference.

“I rarely hear that people watch award shows anymore,” she said. “Making a new category like this one could make people excited to see one of their favorite movies be nominated, and possibly win.”

However, some thought the recent addition would promote less worthy films and devalue the award. Senior Gavin Hosto, a member of EHS’s Film Society, believes the new category wasn’t necessary.  Popular films have been nominated for awards in the past by their merits alone, he said, and the Academy’s standards shouldn’t be lowered to accommodate just anything.

“I understand what the Oscars stand for: they’re here to represent the best of the best in film,” he said. “And if a film brings a big crowd that enjoys it enough to say it’s a ‘must-see,’ (that’s) an achievement. But the Oscars also showcase films that go outside the box and innovate.”

On the other hand, Brown believes that the controversy around the category is meaningless, and perhaps the fixation of viewers on film accolades is to blame for the debate.

“I think it’s kind of sad that the backlash is happening, when the category seemed pretty harmless to me,” she said. “…I think that making art with movies should be just that—art, not filming specifically to win an award.’