Backlash forces Academy rethink, postpones ‘popular film Oscar’ category

The popular film Oscar category was cancelled by the Academy after facing an overwhelming backlash. (File / Shutterstock)
Updated 08 September 2018

Backlash forces Academy rethink, postpones ‘popular film Oscar’ category

  • Academy cancels popular film category for 2019 ceremony amid fierce criticisms
  • The awards show will be shortened to three hours, with some presentations during commercial breaks

DUBAI: Plans for a new popular film category in the 2019 edition of the Oscars has been cancelled after the idea sparked a backlash in the movie industry, London daily Evening Standard reported.

The idea for the new category was introduced a month ago, but it instead sparked a massive backlash throughout the industry, and on Thursday the plans were shelved.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences said in a statement: “Implementing any new award nine months into the year creates challenges for films that have already been released.”

And Academy Chief Executive Dawn Hudson said there was a “need for further discussion with our members.”

Announced last August, the proposal was seen as an attempt to increase the viewers of the annual awards night, which had 26.5 million viewers in the most recent ceremony, the lowest in its history.

But members of the film community instantly raised their concerns over the new category, saying it would create a two-tiered system for popular and unpopular films. Critics questioned the criteria of determining a “popular film”, with many citing Black Panther’s both commercial and critical success.

Recently, Academy voters have been choosing independent films for the “best picture” category winner over blockbuster movies from big production houses.

The film academy will go ahead with other changes it announced, including shortening the show to three hours, with about 24 awards presented during commercial breaks.

The 2019 Oscars ceremony will take place in Los Angeles on February 24.

Boxing legend Floyd Mayweather tours Saudi Arabia’s Al-Ula

Updated 19 January 2019

Boxing legend Floyd Mayweather tours Saudi Arabia’s Al-Ula

During his visit to Saudi Arabia, former boxing champion Floyd Mayweather toured the historic site of Al-Ula.

Mayweather was in Saudi Arabia to watch Juventus beat AC Milan 1-0 in Italian Super Cup.

A video posted on the Twitter account of Winter at Tantora music festival showed the undefeated champ get a helicopter ride over the ancient site in the city of Madain Saleh.

Famous for its golden sandstones, Madain Saleh is in the Northwestern region of Saudi Arabia. Over 5000 years old, it is home to Nabateans’ second-largest city after Petra and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.