Entertainment Movies New popular film Oscar wins the prize for best instant backlash
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New popular film Oscar wins the prize for best instant backlash

Oscars new award
The Oscars are introducing a new category for outstanding achievement in popular film. Photo: AAP
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And the winner is … not the Academy, apparently.

Oscars’ chiefs have copped fast backlash for their decision to create a new award category for popular film.

Within hours of the announcement, “popular film” was trending on Twitter, and not in a good way, with A-list stars, international movie critics and regular ticket buyers giving it bad reviews.

Time called it an “insult to movie goers” in a scathing online piece.

Variety journalists Meredith Woerner, Stuart Oldham, and Kristopher Tapley slammed the new category as  “lazy,” “staggeringly ham-fisted,” and “a huge step back for genre film.”

“So…does that mean that films like Black Panther and Mission Impossible can’t compete for Best Picture?” Oldham asked.

The new category was viewed as an effort to grab a larger audience to the annual broadcast, which will now be limited to a user-friendly three hours, according to the Academy.

It was also criticised as an excuse not to nominate critically-acclaimed box office blockbusters like Black Panther for best picture, but rather relegate them to the popular film award.

Five Came Back author Mark Harris tweeted that the popular film award, “Is a ghetto and will be perceived that way.”

Actor Rob Lowe took to Twitter to condemn the move, saying “The film business passed away today”:

Lowe would not be silenced, jumping back onto the social media platform hours later:

Lord of the Rings star Elijah Wood was also unhappy, posting simply: “Best popular film? Oof.”

Said one user, “Hey film. Hope you have a great summer. Stay cool!”

Asked another, “Can best non-human performance be far behind?”

The Oscars “are basically creating an attendance award,” said one movie fan.

Another said the award would be determined through a combination of “box office, fan voting and number of a film’s costars bullied off social media due to constant death threats from racist trolls.”

But Oscars’ bosses claim they were just trying to breathe new life into the awards.

In a letter to members, the board of governors of the Academy of Motion Pictures also said it would present some of the 24 Academy Awards during commercial breaks in the televised broadcast.

The changes, to kick off at the February 2019 ceremony, are a major overhaul for the movie industry’s most prestigious honours.

They follow years of audiences turning off for the Oscars ceremony. His year’s March awards were watched in the US by 26.5 million viewers, the smallest in the history of the 90 year-old Academy Awards.

“We have heard from many of you about improvements needed to keep the Oscars and our Academy relevant in a changing world,” the board said in the letter, which was shared with media.

“The board of governors took this charge seriously.” 

Details of the popular film category would come later, the letter said.

The ceremony often runs close to four hours, but bosses will run a tighter ship from now on, they promised.

“We are committed to producing an entertaining show in three hours, delivering a more accessible Oscars for our viewers worldwide,” the board said.

–with AAP