09 Aug 2018
Oscars introduce 'popular films' category, decoding what it means
Written byShuvrajit Das BiswasEntertainment
The Academy of Motion Picture and Sciences, that awards the Oscars, announced new changes for Oscars 2019 and 2020.
The announcements were made under the leadership of John Bailey and CEO Dawn Hudson.
The changes include the shortening of the Oscar ceremony to three hours and the introduction of a new category for popular films.
The Oscars 2020 will be aired on February 9.
Why the sudden need for changes?
The changes to the well-worn pattern might seem sudden but they're justified.
The Oscars 2018, hosted by Chris Rock, saw the lowest television ratings. It certainly implies that audiences want a streamlined show.
Further, to move up the airing date for Oscars 2020 makes sense as it makes the award season shorter. This ensures people aren't burned out by the time the Oscars happen.
The biggest change and what it means for the Oscars
The newly-added award category has garnered divided opinion.
The last time they added a category was in 2001 for animated films.
After that, the only other change was a reaction to the snubbing of Christopher Nolan's 'The Dark Knight' in Best Film.
As a result, they increased nominations from 5 to 10.
However, the Academy hasn't yet announced basis of judgment for popular films.
The necessity of the new category in Oscars
Although the new category hasn't been well received by all, it makes sense.
The category would likely include superhero movies, which are beginning to include more socially relevant topics. Remember the feminism in 'Wonder Woman' or color representation in 'Black Panther'?
Till now superhero films lost to artistic films for Best Film.
Furthermore, audiences who prefer blockbusters are likely to feel more included.
The likely dilution of art in the Oscars
Every move has its flip-side and the ambiguity of measuring popularity stands out.
While movies nominated for Popular Film can also be nominated for Best Film, history has shown this as unlikely. Animated films have rarely made it to Best Film since they got their own category.
This would only create high and low art gap which recent superhero movies are trying to dissolve.
What's popular films and what can we expect?
Since the metric for popularity isn't decided yet, we can't be sure. But it's safe to assume that the nod will be towards blockbusters.
The films most likely in this category will have high box-office revenues, so expect to see MCU movies and franchises like 'Mission Impossible'.
Film-watching is taking a new direction and we've to wait and see how this category works out.