On Wednesday, it was announced that the Oscars would be adding a new category and changing up its format.
In a letter about the changes shared via The Hollywood Reporter, Academy president John Bailey and CEO Dawn Hudson wrote that they “will create a new category for outstanding achievement in popular film” with eligibility requirements and more details to be announced. And, following concerns that the ceremony was too long, the pair announced that the Academy will focus on producing a three-hour telecast.
Fans and critics have voiced their concerns about both changes, but many feel that the new popular film category could particularly affect Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther.
While the new category may also be an attempt to reverse the ceremony’s dwindling viewership, the biggest concern is that by creating a popular film category, instead of just nominating a film for Best Picture, is an elitist way to separate the Academy’s usual fare from films that they often ignore or deem unworthy.
Wow, Oscars really just made a whole category just so Black Panther would win and they wouldn't be accused of white washing. Very cool! https://t.co/6Dvc4sZfxQ
the Oscars still considers popular films beneath them this is just them giving a condescending "lesser film" award so they can shove movies like Black Panther & Love Simon there so they can keep nominating straight white films for what they consider the "real awards" w/ no uproar
— Kate Just Impeach The Bastard Already Cipolla (@CipollaKate) August 9, 2018
Awarding films for their outstanding popularity?! Congrats to the producers of the Not Good Enough For Best Picture Consideration award, which will get buried in the soft pile of hundreds of millions of box office dollars. https://t.co/eMWYJtP973
Tha Academy has long faced criticism that they continuously shut out popular films, specifically blockbusters, superhero movies, and films in the horror genre. Last year’s win and nominations for Get Outwas a rare moment in the organization’s history.
While sure, the new category may increase Black Panther‘s chances of receiving a nomination, by creating a category specifically for “popular” films, the organization has made it pretty clear that on any other occasion Marvel’s mega-hit would likely not receive serious consideration.