In the first great pre-awards-season walkback of 2018, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has announced that its new Popular Film category won’t be at this year’s ceremony. In fact, the details on when the strangely conceived category will debut at all is a bit up in the air. Maybe the reaction to its announcement wasn’t what the Academy hoped? It certainly didn’t win any popularity awards, that’s for sure.
In a release, the Academy said that logistics played as much a part in their decision as the backlash. “The Academy recognized that implementing any new award nine months into the year creates challenges for films that have already been released,” the statement read.
And while the most prestigious awards body in the industry is still seeking “additional input regarding this category” (a category that goes unnamed throughout the release), the sheer denial of the consensus reaction seems to indicate that they’re rethinking things.
“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. But she’s not backing down completely: “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 Popular Oscar may be on ice for now, but it has every possibility of resurfacing, likely under a different name. This and a shortened telecast, angled at better ratings for the broadcast, seem to be moving the Oscars closer and closer to something much more populist — like a grown-up Kids’ Choice Awards, maybe?
The 91st Oscars will air on Feb. 24, 2019.