In August, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences unveiled changes to the annual Academy Awards, with the most buzzed-about news being the introduction of a new category: the Achievement in Popular Film.
Just weeks later, the Academy has announced that the Achievement in Popular Film category would not be present in the 2019 Academy Awards.
The potential introduction of a popular movie category elicited a range of reactions. How would the Academy qualify “popular”? What would this mean for critically acclaimed genre films? Would Black Panther get a Best Picture nomination, or would it remain in the popular category? Was this just pandering to get more casual viewers to tune into the Oscars?
It was this outcry that spurred the Academy’s decision to hold off on introducing the category for the upcoming Oscars.
“There has been a wide range of reactions to the introduction of a new award, and we recognize the need for further discussion with our members,” said Academy CEO Dawn Hudson in the press statement. “We have made changes to the Oscars over the years—including this year—and we will continue to evolve while also respecting the incredible legacy of the last 90 years.”
The statement also acknowledged that the introduction of a new award category nine months into the year would “create challenges for films that have already been released.”
There will still be changes to the upcoming Oscars ceremony, particularly in regard to the length of the telecast. A few categories will be presented during the commercial breaks, then edited and aired later in the broadcast. It’s speculated that this means many of the technical awards (sound mixing and editing and film editing, for instance), as well as the short film categories.
The 91st Academy Awards will air on Feb. 24, 2019.