It seems popular demand is bringing down one of The Academy's recent award categories. According to a new report, the Oscars will forego its newly announced Popular Film category.
The Hollywood Reporter made the big announcement today, and it seems The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will postpone the category for now. The award was meant to debut at the 91st Academy Awards, but it faced intense backlash from both critics and fans.
"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," Dawn Hudson, the Academy CEO, said.
"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."
For those unfamiliar with the category, it was voted on last month by the Academy's board of governors. The group decided to make the award as a way to honor "achievement in popular film". However, the decision sparked backlash when the Academy failed to produce any criteria for eligibility or how its voting process would work.
Fans took to social media to scorn the award, speculating whether the move was made for a ratings boost. Other film organizations like The Razzies commented on the controversial announcement and said this new category didn't align with the Academy's brand.
"The Razzies don't always get it right," the organization said in an open statement. "We get called on it. We usually ignore it because well — who takes the Razzies seriously? But seriously we're not the Oscars. The Oscars are not the low-brow $4.97 statuette that reminds otherwise good talent they done bad or the talent-free they done made too much money."
"The Oscars lowering themselves to 'honor' popular fare just to get more eyeballs is not conducive to their brand. Everyone depends on Oscar to point out the good stuff that might not otherwise be seen."
Hollywood's elite were also quick to comment on the category, and stars from some of film's biggest franchises did not hold their tongue. During a recent interview, Chadwick Boseman (Black Panther) was asked whether he felt the blockbuster movie could take home the new Oscar, and the MCU star said Black Panther was more than able to make a Best Picture run.
"We don't know what it [the new prize] is, so I don't know whether to be happy about it or not," Boseman said. "What I can say is that there's no campaign [that we are mounting] for popular film; like, if there's a campaign, it's for best picture, and that's all there is to it."
For now, fans will have to wait and see whether the Oscars can change the reputation of this proposed award. Until then, the Popular Film trophy will remain shelved, a fact that will force the Academy to reconsider their current award processes.
So, what do you make of this turnaround? Let me know in the comments or hit me up on Twitter @MeganPetersCB to talk all things comics and anime!