The Academy has announced that a new category is being designed around achievement in popular film. In a tweet that detailed new changes in the ceremony’s format, it was also announced that there will be an earlier airdate, February 9, and that a globally accessible, three-hour telecast is being planned.
While no details have yet been released regarding eligibility, internet users have been quick to say that this is a “panicked” move from the Academy to accommodate blockbuster movies. The Academy was criticized by many, for example, when it failed to honor The Dark Knight in 2008; the new category will allow more flexibility in honoring ‘genre’ movies, such as those about superheroes. Early contenders for this new category in 2019 are already being thrown about: Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again, Black Panther and Mission Impossible: Fallout, to name a few.
It’s also yet to be seen how the Academy will deem if a film is “popular”, as many films that are nominated for Best Picture tend to be in the top 20 grossing films that year anyway.
Twitter uses have already been quick to criticize the decision.
It truly is something that in the year Black Panther, a movie made just about entirely by and with black people, grosses $700 million, the Academy’s reaction is, “We need to invent something separate…but equal.”
— Mark Harris (@MarkHarrisNYC) 8 août 2018
Many users have also pointed out that ABC, the channel which airs the Academy Awards, is owned by Disney, who will certainly benefit from this new category. Disney films are some of the highest-grossing, yet they haven’t had a Best Picture nominee since The Sixth Sense.
Words by Steph Green