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Academy Delays Best Popular Film Oscar, Says Category Will Not Be Included at 2019 Oscars

The Academy caused a wave of backlash after it announced August 8 the creation of a category honoring "popular film." Now, it's on hold.

No Merchandising. Editorial Use Only. No Book Cover UsageMandatory Credit: Photo by Marvel/Disney/Kobal/REX/Shutterstock (9360960cr)Ryan Coogler, Chadwick Boseman"Black Panther" Film - 2018

“Black Panther”

Marvel/Disney/Kobal/REX/Shutterstock

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has announced that it is delaying the controversial new category for Outstanding Achievement in Popular Film. The Academy introduced the new award on August 8 in attempt to diversify the range of nominees, but the decision resulted in backlash from film journalists and fans. The award will not be presented at the 2019 Oscars.

“While remaining committed to celebrating a wide spectrum of movies, the Academy announced today that it will not present the new Oscars category at the upcoming 91st awards,” the official statement reads. “The Academy recognized that implementing any new award nine months into the year creates challenges for films that have already been released. The Board of Governors continues to be actively engaged in discussions, and will examine and seek additional input regarding this category.”

The Academy originally claimed films nominated for the best popular film Oscar could also compete for best picture. Numerous film journalists criticized the Academy’s decision to create a popular film Oscar in the same year where Marvel’s “Black Panther,” a major studio tentpole, has a shot at best picture.

“There has been a wide range of reactions to the introduction of a new award, and we recognize the need for further discussion with our members,” said Academy CEO Dawn Hudson. “We have made changes to the Oscars over the years—including this year—and we will continue to evolve while also respecting the incredible legacy of the last 90 years.”

Changes to the 91st Oscars (2019) include restructuring and shortening the length of the telecast to three hours. To honor all 24 award categories, six to eight categories will be presented live, in the Dolby Theatre®, during commercial breaks. The winning moments will then be edited and aired later in the broadcast. Selected categories will be rotated each year. The Academy will collaborate with the show producer(s) to select these categories.

The 2019 Oscars air Sunday, February 24.

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