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The Academy's Weird 'Popular Film' Oscar Is Being Postponed

BB-8, Oscar Isaac, Mark Hamill, and Kelly Marie Tran onstage at the 90th Annual Academy Awards. Or...a dramatic interpretation of Academy voters looking at one of those popular films. Who can say?
BB-8, Oscar Isaac, Mark Hamill, and Kelly Marie Tran onstage at the 90th Annual Academy Awards. Or...a dramatic interpretation of Academy voters looking at one of those popular films. Who can say?
Photo: Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Last month, the Academy announced it was introducing a new category to its esteemed Oscar awards for “achievement in popular film,” a nebulous attempt to seemingly honor big-ticket blockbuster films but, you know, keep them away from the real Oscars. Seems like a bad idea, right? Well, the Academy now agrees.

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In a freshly announced decision (via the Hollywood Reporter), the Academy has decided that the category “merits further study,” and will no longer appear as part of February 2019's 91st Academy Awards ceremony.

Reaction from film critics has been widely mixed about the matter, especially from pop culture writers who see the category as a dismissive attempt to boost ratings while keeping tentpole movies from being nominated in categories like Best Picture. The statement from the Academy primarily cites introducing a new category of award nine months into the year as a not entirely smart idea as the reason for the delay. Academy CEO Dawn Hudson did however note that feedback from critics also played a part in the decision:

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. 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.

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On a completely unrelated note, I’m sure someone at Marvel Studios is both very happy and suddenly holding a ton of Black Panther-themed “For Your Consideration...” letters right about now.

James is a News Editor at io9. He wants pictures. Pictures of Spider-Man!

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The academy should let the fine folks at MTV come up with their new categories.

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