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Best Popular Film Oscar: Why the Academy Can Do Better Than This — IndieWire’s Movie Podcast

Screen Talk, episode 209: The announcement about the new Oscar for "Best Popular Film" has mortified the film industry. But what's really at stake here?

Host Jimmy Kimmel, left, speaks with a member of the movie theater audience on screen via satellite at the Oscars, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles90th Academy Awards - Show, Los Angeles, USA - 04 Mar 2018

Host Jimmy Kimmel, left, speaks with a member of the movie theater audience on screen via satellite at the Oscars, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles
90th Academy Awards – Show, Los Angeles, USA – 04 Mar 2018

Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP/REX/Shutterstock

The summer is usually not the time for hectic awards season updates, but this week’s announcement that the Academy was adding an Oscar for “Best Popular Film” was quite the anomaly. Movie people around the world were mortified by the decision and its implications for big and small films alike. Lost in the chaotic reaction, however, was an important factor — the Oscars are important to a lot of people, and the Academy is a valuable institution that needs to survive. Clearly, this is a desperate survival tactic, but is it the right one? And if it’s not, is too late to consider some alternate solutions?

In this week’s episode of Screen Talk, Eric Kohn and Anne Thompson debate the decision and unearth its root causes, while speculating about how the next stages of this new award might unfold. They also discuss the impact of the earlier date for the awards that will go into effect in 2020 and the decision to limit the telecast to three hours.

Listen to the full episode below.

Screen Talk is available on iTunes.

You can subscribe here or via RSS. Share your feedback with Thompson and Kohn on Twitter or sound off in the comments. Browse previous installments here, review the show on  and be sure to let us know if you’d like to hear the hosts address specific issues in upcoming editions of Screen Talk. Check out the rest of IndieWire’s podcasts on iTunes right here.

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