Academy Awards adds Oscar category for popular movies (UPDATED)

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Will the new Oscar category lift up great genre films, or contain them?

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences on Tuesday announced big changes for the Oscars, including a new category recognizing popular films, shorter broadcasts and an earlier ceremony date come 2020:

“A new category is being designed around achievement in popular film,” the Academy tweeted, without elaborating.

This new Oscar category could lead to more genre films being recognized, but will no doubt be seen as bowing to pressure to honor pop culture blockbusters in order to reach a wider TV audience.

It also raises some important questions about possible unintended (?) consequences:

It’s still early, and the popular film category is still in development. The move could serve to give science fiction, fantasy, horror and high adventure a higher profile — but it could also limit their achievements by locking them off in a tiny box far away from the coveted Best Picture award. Time will tell.

I’d like to thank the Academy — for at least trying to end the shameful blockade on genuine pop culture masterpieces, as well as limiting the broadcast to three hours (we’ll see if that sticks …)

Update (Sept. 7):

Never mind.

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Jayson Peters

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