Changes to Oscars Draws Criticism, Raises Questions

Change is coming to the Oscars – and some are not happy about it.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced last week it will shorten its glitzy awards ceremony to three hours, and there will be a new category of awards based on “achievement in popular film.”

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Critics blasted the news on social media, questioning what a shorter ceremony will look like, and what kinds of films will be presented in the new category.

“This seems more like a blatant attempt to lure in people who are not all that interested in film, at the risk of devaluing great films that are already out there,” said Allison Shoemaker, a Chicago-based film critic for the online publication “Consequence of Sound.”

Poll: Do you think adding a “Popular Film” category to the Oscars is a good idea?

The 2018 Oscars ran almost four hours long and saw just over 26 million viewers – a decline in viewership of 19 percent, compared with 2017. That was an all-time low for the awards show.

But Shoemaker says the new category may help reduce a stigma often associated with “popular films”: they’re not deserving of recognition for their artistry.

“A movie like ‘Black Panther,’ which in my opinion is a remarkable achievement in filmmaking, is sort of shunted into this ‘Best Popular Film’ category,” she said. “We should have interesting, diverse movies wherever they come from.”

Shoemaker joins us in discussion.

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