On Wednesday, the 54-member Board of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences approved some changes to the next Oscars telecast in response to ABC’s request to boost ratings. ABC is paying $75 million per year until 2028 for the broadcast rights, yet last years’ Oscars telecast was watched by nearly 40% fewer people than at its peak in 2014.
Among the announced changes, the one that has people jeering and jesting the most is the Academy’s new “Outstanding Achievement in Popular Film” category. Some of the reactions were somber, with Rob Lowe tweeting, “The film business passed away today with the announcement of the ‘popular’ film Oscar. It had been in poor health for a number of years. It is survived by sequels, tent-poles, and vertical integration.”
Most reactions were jokes, however. For example, Rob Lowe followed up his serious tweet with a self-deprecating reference to his maligned musical performance in the all-around terrible 1989 telecast.