After months of discussions, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences approved three new changes to the Oscars, one of which could have huge implications on the Best Picture category. But first: the Academy is serious about a three-hour telecast (“We are committed to producing an entertaining show in three hours, delivering a more accessible Oscars for our viewers worldwide”), and the date of the 92nd Oscars has been moved up, from February 23, 2020 to Feb. 9 (next year’s Oscars will remain on Feb 24, 2019).
Here’s the big one.
New award category
We will create a new category for outstanding achievement in popular film. Eligibility requirements and other key details will be forthcoming.
The Academy Awards has struggled with how to balance blockbusters and more obvious “Oscar movies” ever since The Dark Knight, arguably the greatest superhero movie of all-time, wasn’t nominated for Best Picture. (In response, the category went from five possible nominations to 10.) Best Popular Picture (or whatever) is a way for the Academy to honor comic book and action films, like Avengers: Infinity War and Mission: Impossible — Fallout, that might be otherwise overlooked everywhere but the technical categories. But the “eligibility requirements and other key details” wording begs a lot of questions, like can Black Panther be up for both Best Picture and Best Popular Picture? And: can Suicide Squad be nominated again, so it can win another Oscar?
UPDATE: the Academy offered a bit of clarification.
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.
Either way, I look forward to the Oscars turning into the MTV Movie Awards. Add Best Kiss, too!