'Staggeringly ham-fisted' - Oscars slammed for adding Best Popular Film

The addition of a Best Popular Film category to the Oscars has not gone down well with many online.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences won't divulge the category's eligibility requirements until a later date, but it's already being mocked by film critics, writers and reporters on social media.

"WTF is the Academy thinking?" asks Rolling Stone in an op-ed piece by Tim Grierson.

"[It] smacks of desperation - not to mention suggests that the people running the show have no conception of what the value of the Oscars even is."

The Oscars broadcast has suffered falling ratings in recent years and it's reasonable to think that the Academy wants to reduce its 'elitist' perception with the more accessible category.

But many of those criticising the Best Popular Film category claim it suggests blockbuster studio movies aren't as artistically good as the more indie films that often get Best Picture nominations.

"[It] feels like a panicked move by an Academy that's worried Black Panther won't be nominated for Best Picture," writes Todd VanDerWerff for Vox.com.

"An echo of when they expanded the Best Picture category to 10 nominees in 2009 in response to The Dark Knight and Wall-E being snubbed in that category.

"It's going to feel like shameless pandering, and it's just going to make the awards less meaningful."

On Twitter, various film critics and entertainment journalists are slamming the category as "lazy," "staggeringly ham-fisted," and "a HUGE step back for genre film".

The Best Popular Film category is one of three "key changes" the Academy announced, along with restricting the broadcast to three hours and holding it earlier in the year.

More details on those changes can be found in the Academy's statement, which is published on The Hollywood Reporter.


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