The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences really want you to watch the Academy Awards next year. That’s part of why they’re adding a new category to next year’s proceedings that will honor “Achievement in Popular Film.”
The Academy announced the new generic category, which honors big-budget blockbusters and other mainstream hits most people have seen, in a letter to board members on Wednesday, Entertainment Weekly reports.
“We have heard from many of you about improvements needed to keep the Oscars and our Academy relevant in a changing world. The Board of Governors took this charge seriously,” Academy president John Bailey and chief executive officer Dawn Hudson stated.
Variety film critic Owen Glieberman wrote that he finds the category “superficial” and vague and wonders whether its inclusion will hurt Black Panther’s chances at getting a Best Picture nomination or win—a valid concern. ScreenCrush associate editor Britt Hayes agreed, calling the creation of the category a “desperate ratings grab.” (Academy Awards viewership fell to 26.5 million viewers in 2018—the lowest viewed telecast in Oscars history, per EW.)
Good? Bad? What does it mean to be popular?? One thing is for certain: I will probably watch, perhaps.