The Oscars Will Now Have A Category For "Popular" Movies, Plus A Shorter Runtime

It's the question we hear every single year at Oscars time, why movies people have actually seen don't get more nominations in the Best Picture category. I hate that question, as someone who considers it his job to make people aware of great smaller movies to see. Well, the Academy is tired of having that conversation, too, and they are making a pretty big change to accomodate more mainstream films.

The Oscars will now include an Outstanding Achievement in Popular Film category, where presumably we'll see all of the superhero flicks and blockbusters that usually dominate the technical field. Ugh.  A decade ago a change was made to expand the Best Picture category to 10 nominees, as a direct response to The Dark Knight not being nominated the year before. Initially the plan worked, and films like District 9, The Blind Side, and Avatar all found their way to Best Picture nominations. It hasn't really stuck, though, and mostly it's just meant more art house films were given the nod. You might see one or two "popular" films make the cut, but we all know they are just place holders and will get trounced by whatever prestige drama is hot that year.

With films like Black Panther and Wonder Woman reaching a quality at or better than most awards season projects, this seemed like the time when we would finally see superhero movies recognized. That might not happen at all now, as they'll be relegated to the Popular Film category, which no matter what the Academy wants will always be considered a secondary award. You can bet they'll treat it like it's secondary, too. You think it will be the award that closes out the broadcast, or Best Picture? You know the answer.

Another change is that some awards won't be televised, in an effort to keep the broadcast runtime at 3 hours. The awards will be given during commercial breaks (Ugggghhhhhh), and if there are any notable speeches they will be shown later. I'll believe this when I see it, but as someone who hosts the Oscar Night Party at the Drafthouse every year, I'll be happy to shorten my evening from 6 hours to 3.

The Oscars will next air on February 9th, which is up a couple of weeks.

I guess this means we can start counting down the days until The Meg wins its first Oscar! [THR]