Following dwindling ratings, The Academy recently announced the Most Popular category in order to drum up new excitement, with it also thought to be aimed at movies such as Black Panther, which ordinarily wouldn’t make the cut for Best Film.
Now The Academy has yanked the category following backlash.
“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,” Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences CEO Dawn Hudson said in a 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 ratings for the show have nosedived, with viewewership down near 50% in four years.
It probably should be said the “most popular” movie is also already known simply by checking box office returns, so why the need of a new category?
Our movie reviewer, Lawrence Napoli, wasn’t too hip with the idea as well: “Clearly, there’s a popularity problem for Hollywood’s Super Bowl and what better way to make something popular than with a shameless marketing ploy?”
Regarding Black Panther, Marvel and Disney are actually campaigning to get it nominated for Best Film and haven’t been eyeing the Most Popular category.
“I would like to see the hard work and the effort and the vision and the belief of the talented filmmaker Ryan Coogler, who sat across the table from us a few years ago and said, ‘I have been wrestling with questions about my past and my heritage and I think I really want to tell a story within this movie,’ ” Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige said. “And that he did it so unbelievably well and with so much impact … seeing that potentially being recognized is what excites me the most.
“I think it would be wonderful,” Feige continued. “The people behind the camera, the people on screen that acted in the movie, any of them being recognized would bring us great joy because they did tremendous work. And it’s always nice when tremendous work is recognized.”