the oscars

The Academy Is Adding a New Oscars Category for Popular Films

Photo: Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images

Having been reelected Tuesday for his second yearlong term, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences president John Bailey has apparently hit the ground running with new changes for the Oscars. Running right to the box office, it sounds like, as the Academy has just announced the creation of a category to celebrate the films we all actually go see, Oscar bait or no. Tweeted the organization on Wednesday, “A new category is being designed around achievement in popular film.”

The two other announced changes are an earlier 2020 air date (clear your calendar for February 9 a year-and-a-half from now!) and a “more globally accessible, three-hour telecast.” The last change seems to be in keeping with Bailey’s vocal desire to take the Hollywood institution more worldwide, in part by including more international voters, many of whom aren’t working in the American film industry, into the Academy itself. As Bailey said after his election last August, “It’s not about recruiting new people in the established industry. It’s going out and saying, ‘Who out there around the world should be enriching the motion picture Academy with their gifts and their history?’”

Update: In an even more intriguing addendum to the new Oscars changes (and to answer your immediate Black Panther–related question), yes, a movie could potentially be nominated for both a popular film Oscar and a Best Picture Oscar. According to a statement from the Academy reported by The Hollywood Reporter, “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.”

The Academy Is Adding New Oscars Category for Popular Films