The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences have approved and confirmed some major changes to their annual Academy Awards, also known as The Oscars.
First of all, they are making moves to streamline their broadcast and shorten the televised version of the show to three hours. To achieve this, they plan on cutting out some “below the line” categories that bloat the broadcast by having them announced during the commercial breaks. While one can understand where they are coming from, it also seems like an unintentional insult to the nominees and eventual winners in those particular categories. For many of them, perhaps all of them, this is the biggest night of their lives and a piece of art they have painstakingly worked on is being honoured at the ceremony, so to push their category aside is to inadvertently disregard the hard work they have put in.
Another major change to the ceremony is the introduction of a brand-new award for Outstanding Achievement in Popular Film. Now, what this vague term essentially means is that big blockbusters that have been snubbed by The Academy for decades will now be eligible for an award. Big superhero movies like The Avengers, big action epics like Mission: Impossible and even horror movies – a genre notoriously disregarded by The Academy – will now see regular nominations.
Unfortunately for The Academy, some of these changes have been met with backlash from both the general public, film critics and filmmakers alike, with the Outstanding Achievement in Popular Film award in-particular being referred to as desperate pandering by The Academy, in an attempt to boost their ratings after the 90th Academy Awards saw a ratings drop of 19% when compared to the 89th Academy Awards, also marking the first time in a decade that the ceremony failed to lock-in over 30 million viewers. Many are frustrated that such a generic category has been fabricated while there is still a distinct absence of recognition for departments such as Stunt Work and Casting – two vital yet often overlooked elements within film.
No matter what you think of the award for Outstanding Achievement in Popular Film, at the very least it means that there will now be a lot more hardworking people getting recognition for the art they have created, resulting in a lot more joy being spread among the attendees on Oscar night, and joy is never a bad thing – is it?