AP, TVWeek

The Academy Awards’ Big Change Is Already Getting Backlash

Aug 8, 2018  •  Post A Comment

In the few hours since the Motion Picture Academy announced it will add a category for popular films, the complaints have already begun pouring in.

“The new film category quickly drew negative attention, with ‘popular film’ becoming a trending topic on Twitter by Wednesday afternoonm” the AP reports.

The report quotes Mark Harris, the author of “Five Came Back,” tweeting that the popular film award “is a ghetto and will be perceived that way.”

A tweet from actor Rob Lowe says: “The film business passed away today with the announcement of the ‘popular’ film Oscar. It had been in poor health for a number of years. It is survived by sequels, tent-poles, and vertical integration.”

The AP adds: “The addition of the popular film category, a clear effort to attract a larger audience to the ABC broadcast by honoring bigger and more seen films, led many to wonder whether a film like ‘Black Panther’ would be ineligible for best picture and relegated to the popular film award because of its size and success, or lead to inadvertent segmenting by film academy voters.”

The eligibility requirements will reportedly be determined later, but the AP report notes that “other top film categories like best animated feature and best foreign language film don’t prohibit a best picture nomination. ‘Toy Story 3’ was nominated for both best picture and best animated feature.”

The academy has not specified whether the new popular film category would be added for the 91st Academy Awards, which will be presented this February.


  1. The biggest problem with the the notion of a “popular” film category stems from the fact that non-industry film goers perceive the best picture category to simply be a popularity contest. It seems redundant.

    This could be resolved by making the “popular” film category an actual “popular” decision

    Two ways to do this. 1) They could simply give the award to the film with the largest box office… although that would make the giving of the award no surprise. It also doesn’t account for multiple viewings by the same people, which need be discounted somehow if the definition of popular is meant be for most individual viewers.

    2) Let non-industry film audiences nominate and vote for a film. Select 1200 people at random to be “popular” voting members for a period of one to three years. Every year replace 1/3 of those members with a different, randomly selected 400 people. Send them a list of the top 10 to 20 films (as determined by box office). Have them select no more than 10 and rank them by number according to what the viewer thinks is the best film, and the film with the most number 1 votes gets the award.

  2. What category would Titanic fall into? How about Sound of Music? The Godfather 1 and 2? The Sting? Rocky? Rain Man? The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King? The list goes on and on. Being popular should not determine nomination for the best picture. And neither should the fact that the movie doesn’t promote political issues that the Academy wants to promote. What this category actually does is permit the Motion Picture Academy to ignore movies that the public sees for the best picture and nominate even more movies that haven’t been seen by anyone outside of the major film festivals.

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