CENT New Oscars "Popular Film" category to be introduced at the 2019 show - CNET

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The Academy of Motion Pictures just announced some changes to its annual Oscars event. In a tweet Wednesday morning, the Academy announced it's planning a new category "around achievement in popular film."

Could this new category focus on the epic draw of films like offerings from the Marvel Cinematic Universe or Star Wars movies?

The Academy Board of Governors has yet to reveal more information about what kind of achievement will be recognized and what qualifies as a popular film, and the Academy did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The Hollywood Reporter reported that "a single film is eligible for an Oscar in both categories- Outstanding Achievement in Popular Film and the Academy Award for Best Picture. The new category will be introduced this coming year, at the 91st Oscars."  The Academy did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Some Twitter users, however, speculate the award could recognize stunt work, or perhaps performance capture actors and artists. Others wonder if this is merely a way to throw the MCU and the Star Wars universe awards without actually considering them for "main" categories, like Best Actor or Best Picture. 

Such films are certainly popular, as Black Panther recently passed $700M in the United States, the most for any MCU film ever domestically. And a few months ago, Avengers: Infinity War has surpassed $2B worldwide, and is still inching toward the third-place slot of all time. (Star Wars: The Force Awakens currently holds that spot.)

Big-budget blockbusters like the Marvel and Star Wars franchises aren't completely ignored by the Academy: they're usually given a nod for visual effects, sound design or other technical accomplishments.

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The new category was announced in a letter to Academy members that also reveals the 2020 date of the Oscars ceremony will be moved to earlier in February than the event usually runs. Next year's Oscars, however, will still air on Sunday, February 24. 

But even if it is a throwaway category, it can't feel worse than saying "Oscar-winner Suicide Squad"... right? 

The Academy is definitely looking to make some changes, and appeal to a wider audience. Future TV broadcasts of the ceremony will be shorter, promising "an entertaining show in three hours, delivering a more accessible Oscars for our viewers worldwide." Some awards will be presented live while others will be given out during the commercial breaks and edited into clips to be shown later.

And never forget...

So the big question is, what big blockbuster movie deserves the golden statue? 

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