Wednesday, 19 December, 2018

Oscars announce new changes to upcoming ceremonies, including a shorter telecast

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Angelica Greene | 08 August, 2018, 22:32

Details and eligibility requirements of the new category, which will honour "outstanding achievement in popular film", will be forthcoming.

Last night cinematographer John Bailey was re-elected president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences by the organization's Board of Governors.

Finally, awards season will shrink by a few weeks: the 2020 Oscars will be handed out on February 9.

So let's start with the new category.

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That move came after outcry accompanied the Academy's perceived failure to nominate "The Dark Knight" and "WALL-E" for the top award, instead favoring "Frost/Nixon", "Milk" and "The Reader".

In a statement, it said: "We have heard from many of you about improvements needed to keep the Oscars and our Academy relevant in a changing world". The dirty (not so) secret of the Academy Awards is that they've never really been a benchmark of excellence to begin with. Not that films like Beasts of the Southern Wild and Whiplash aren't deserving, but this wasn't necessarily what the Academy had in mind. And that's saying a lot since you awarded Best Picture to Crash.

Now, it appears as if the Academy is changing things up once again. For one, it denigrates blockbusters as not worthy of sitting at the adult's table-they have their own, special place.

The category will nearly certainly see acclaimed box office hits such as Black Panther, Avengers: Infinity War and Mission Impossible: Fallout nominated, and if AMPAS truly wants to open things up to the public, an online vote for the final victor wouldn't be remotely surprising. And what criteria will be used to determine whether a film qualifies as "popular?" But it's uncertain which categories would get that treatment and whether that would change from year to year. "Popular films are films!" Give me a break. Certain categories - which have yet to be announced but will presumably include those honoring technical achievement - will be presented during commercial breaks. Getting an Oscar nomination is a huge, huge deal, whether it's for Best Actor or Best Costume Design. However, while the film earned Heath Ledger a posthumous award for his supporting role as the Joker, the film itself was left out of the Best Picture category. Everyone knows the Oscars run long.

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