New Oscars 'Popular Film' category to be introduced at 2019 show

Movies can be eligible for both Outstanding Achievement in Popular Film and the Academy Award for Best Picture.

Alexandra Able Senior Social Media Producer
2 min read

The Academy of Motion Pictures just announced some changes to its annual Oscars event. In a tweet Wednesday morning, the Academy announced it's planning a new category "around achievement in popular film."

Could this new category focus on the epic draw of offerings from the  Marvel Cinematic Universe  or  Star Wars  movies?

The Academy Board of Governors has yet to reveal more information about what kind of achievement will be recognized and what qualifies as a popular film, and the Academy did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The Hollywood Reporter reported that "a single film is eligible for an Oscar in both categories- Outstanding Achievement in Popular Film and the Academy Award for Best Picture. The new category will be introduced this coming year, at the 91st Oscars."  

Some Twitter users speculate the award could recognize stunt work, or perhaps performance capture actors and artists. 

Such films are certainly popular, as Black Panther recently passed $700M in the United States, the most for any MCU film ever domestically. And a few months ago, Avengers: Infinity War has surpassed $2B worldwide, and is still inching toward the third-place slot of all time. (Star Wars: The Force Awakens currently holds that spot.)

Big-budget blockbusters like the Marvel and Star Wars franchises aren't completely ignored by the Academy: they're usually given a nod for visual effects, sound design or other technical accomplishments.

Watch this: Avengers: Infinity War: What did and didn't work

The new category was announced in a letter to Academy members that also reveals the 2020 date of the Oscars ceremony will be moved to earlier in February than the event usually runs. Next year's Oscars, however, will still air on Sunday, February 24. 

But even if it is a throwaway category, it can't feel worse than saying "Oscar-winner Suicide Squad"... right? 

The Academy is definitely looking to make some changes, and appeal to a wider audience. Future TV broadcasts of the ceremony will be shorter, promising "an entertaining show in three hours, delivering a more accessible Oscars for our viewers worldwide." Some awards will be presented live while others will be given out during the commercial breaks and edited into clips to be shown later.

And never forget...

So the big question is, what big blockbuster movie deserves the golden statue? 

First published July 8, 9:26 a.m. PT.
Update, 1:07 p.m. PT: Adds more information about the new category. 

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