Academy Award for Outstanding Achievement in Popular Film

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Academy Award for Outstanding Achievement in Popular Film
Awarded forOutstanding Achievement in Popular Film
CountryUnited States
Presented byAcademy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS)

The Academy Award for Outstanding Achievement in Popular Film (or the Academy Award for Best Popular Film) is a proposed award that was to be presented annually by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS). It was announced as a brand new category by the Academy on August 8, 2018.[1][2][3] The following month, AMPAS announced that the award would not be presented at the 91st Academy Awards as initially planned, and had delayed the award to "examine and seek additional input regarding the new category".[4]


On August 8, 2018, the Academy sent a message to its members with several announcements, one of the announcements read: "New award category — We will create a new category for outstanding achievement in popular film. Eligibility requirements and other key details will be forthcoming". This is also the first new category announced by the Academy since Best Animated Feature Film, which was added in 2001.[5] The Academy also confirmed that films nominated for Outstanding Achievement in Popular Film would have been eligible for Best Picture.[6]


The announcement of a Popular Film category was met with overwhelming negativity from journalists and Academy members alike.[7] Many viewed it as an attempt to pander to mainstream audiences, in the hopes of increasing annual ratings.[8][9][10] The category was also criticized for diminishing the chances that blockbuster films might have at scoring a Best Picture nomination.[11][12][13] The title of the category was also criticised, with "popular" suggesting that the films nominated in other categories are unpopular or not of interest to mainstream audiences.[14] Bob Chipman at The Escapist noted that the front-runner for the inaugural prize was Black Panther, a film with a predominantly African-American cast and noted for its position within Black culture, would be effectively receiving a "separate but equal" Best Picture award.[13]

In contrast, Gene Del Vecchio at USA Today believes the category will allow more deserving films to receive recognition and will motivate blockbuster filmmakers to focus more on artistry as well as mainstream appeal. Furthermore, it has been suggested that a Popular Film category marks a "return to the roots" of the Oscars. From the 1940s to the 1970s, the Best Picture Oscar went to a top 10 box office blockbuster nearly nine times out of ten. In contrast, Best Picture has not been awarded to a top 10 box office film since 2004.[15]


  1. ^ Feinberg, Scott (August 8, 2018). "Oscars Won't Televise All Awards, Adds Popular Film Category". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved October 22, 2018.
  2. ^ Lang, Brent; Rubin, Rebecca (August 8, 2018). "Academy Adds Popular Film Category, Sets Three-Hour Oscar Broadcast". Variety. Retrieved October 22, 2018.
  3. ^ Travis, Ben (August 8, 2018). "Oscars Creating 'Popular Film' Category In Academy Awards Reform". Empire. Retrieved October 22, 2018.
  4. ^ Kilday, Gregg (September 6, 2018). "Academy Postponing New Popular Oscar Category". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved September 6, 2018.
  5. ^ Lee, Benjamin (August 8, 2018). "Oscars: Academy to add achievement in popular film category". The Guardian. Retrieved October 22, 2018.
  6. ^ Sharf, Zack (August 8, 2018). "Oscars: The Academy Confirms Movies Eligible for Best Popular Film Can Also Compete for Best Picture". IndieWire. Retrieved August 14, 2018.
  7. ^ Tapley, Kristopher (August 8, 2018). "Academy Members React to 'Popular' Oscar News: 'The Film Business Passed Away Today'". Variety. Retrieved October 22, 2018.
  8. ^ Zacharek, Stephanie (August 8, 2018). "The Oscars' New 'Popular Film' Category Confirms That Hollywood Thinks We're Stupid". Time. Retrieved October 22, 2018.
  9. ^ Buchanan, Kyle (August 8, 2018). "The Oscars Made Some Dumb Decisions Today". Vulture. Retrieved October 22, 2018.
  10. ^ Robey, Tim (August 9, 2018). "The new 'Best Hit' Oscar makes the Academy look desperate, patronising and more out of touch than ever". The Telegraph. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved August 14, 2018.
  11. ^ Sharf, Zack (August 8, 2018). "Oscars Slammed by Film Journalists for Creating 'Best Popular Film' Category, Especially in the Year of 'Black Panther'". IndieWire. Retrieved October 22, 2018.
  12. ^ Hamer, Robert (August 13, 2018). "The Academy Awards shot themselves in the foot". CC2K. Retrieved August 14, 2018.
  13. ^ a b Chipman, Bob (August 20, 2018). "The Big Picture: Polarity Contest". The Escapist. Retrieved August 21, 2018.
  14. ^ VanDerWerff, Todd (August 9, 2018). "The Oscars' new "popular film" category is a bad idea from a panicked organization". Vox. Retrieved October 22, 2018.
  15. ^ Del Vecchio, Gene (August 25, 2018). "New Oscar category for best popular film marks a long overdue change in the Academy". USA Today. Retrieved October 22, 2018.

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