The Oscars Going For ‘Popular’?

On Wednesday, The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced some changes to its telecast in an attempt to make the Oscars more “relevant,” but should they?

The Academy for several years has been trying to appeal to the younger viewer and if you are a die-hard cinephile and love The Oscar telecast as it is then you may not be in favor of any of the changes that were announced.

Here are the changes that were announced by the Academy.

  • We’ve set an earlier airdate for 2020: mark your calendars for February 9.
  • We’re planning a more globally accessible, three-hour telecast.
  • A new category is being designed around achievement in popular film.

I will start with the earlier airdate for the 92nd Academy Awards in 2020. For myself, what day The Oscars airs really doesn’t matter if it’s early in February or the end of February. I’m of the opinion if you’ve watch The Oscars and enjoy it or if you care less, then having it air almost a month sooner won’t change who does or does not tune in.

The one change I do like and actually approve of 100% is the three-hour telecast. If you follow my Twitter or Facebook accounts then you may or may not be aware that my real job is in broadcasting at a local ABC affiliate. If you work on Oscar night you know your not getting home on time.

The Academy plans on presenting select categories during the national breaks of the live broadcast and the winning moments will then be recorded/edited and aired later in the broadcast. Some have issues with this decision, but not everyone who watches are interested in some of the lesser categories, I know I’m not.

The one decision that has a lot of people talking is the creation of a new category, Achievement in Popular Film. Here is what The Academy says about movies that get nominated for this new category, saying…

“A single film is eligible for an Oscar in both categories – Outstanding Achievement in Popular Film and the Academy Award for Best Picture.”

The Academy has not decided on what will determine a “popular film” saying, “Eligibility requirements and other key details will be forthcoming.”

First and for most when it comes to The Oscar’s I’ve never been a huge fan of the award show. Do I enjoy watching it? Yes and no. I like seeing who wins, but I’m not always interested in all the awards or the amount of time it takes to get through the entire show.

So do I like the idea of the Academy of adding an award for Outstanding Achievement in Popular Film? NO! I will be honest I love my Star Wars, Marvel MCU, DCEU, Star Trek, Mission Impossible movies, but I don’t want the Academy creating an award for no other reason then to try and bring in the younger audience in order to boost the shows ratings.

When I was a kid I never watched The Oscars for the simple reason it was an award show for a bunch of movies that I never heard of or seen, plus it ended way past my bed time. As an adult I have a greater appreciation for the award show, but it still boars me to a certain degree.

Most years the majority of movies nominated for Best Picture come out very late in the calendar year in a limited release, with some not even getting a wide release until after The Oscars have aired. Speaking for myself, I’ve never really understood that and have always felt it was unfair for a movie to only have to play in Los Angeles and New York for a certain amount of time for it to be eligible. I’m not saying those movies don’t deserve to be recognized or there not good I’m just not a fan of the system.

As much as I enjoy watching a Black Panther or a Deadpool 2, this new category I believe is nothing more then a cop out by The Academy to acknowledge movies they don’t want to see nominated for Best Picture despite what they are saying.

Below is the full text of the Academy’s message to its members.

Dear Member,

Last night, the Board of Governors met to elect new board officers, and discuss and approve significant changes to the Oscars telecast.

The Board of Governors, staff, Academy members, and various working groups spent the last several months discussing improvements to the show.

Tonight, the Board approved three key changes:

1. A three-hour Oscars telecast

We are committed to producing an entertaining show in three hours, delivering a more accessible Oscars for our viewers worldwide.

To honor all 24 award categories, we will present select categories live, in the Dolby Theatre, during commercial breaks (categories to be determined). The winning moments will then be edited and aired later in the broadcast.

2. New award category

We will create a new category for outstanding achievement in popular film. Eligibility requirements and other key details will be forthcoming.

3. Earlier airdate for 92nd Oscars

The date of the 92nd Oscars telecast will move to Sunday, February 9, 2020, from the previously announced February 23. The date change will not affect awards eligibility dates or the voting process.

The 91st Oscars telecast remains as announced on Sunday, February 24, 2019.

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.

We are excited about these steps, and look forward to sharing more details with you.

John Bailey and Dawn Hudson

The Academy later issued an addendum:

While the details for a popular film category are still being finalized, a single film is eligible for an Oscar in both categories — Outstanding Achievement in Popular Film and the Academy Award for Best Picture. The new category will be introduced this coming year, at the 91st Oscars. In creating this award, the Board of Governors supports broad-based consideration of excellence in all films.

Categories: Movies

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