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
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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.


Rebel Wilson loses bid to keep most of $3.4 million defamation payout

Updated 16 November 2018
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Rebel Wilson loses bid to keep most of $3.4 million defamation payout

  • The actress had sued Woman’s Day magazine last year over a series of articles in 2015
  • ‘The whole reason for bringing this case is that I wanted to stand up to a bully, which is Bauer Media’

SYDNEY: Rebel Wilson said she was glad she’d stood up to “a bully” despite losing her bid Friday to keep most of the record payout awarded to her in her defamation case against an Australian magazine.
The actress had sued Woman’s Day magazine last year over a series of articles in 2015 that she said had painted her as someone who’d lied about her real name, age and childhood in order to make it in Hollywood.
The Supreme Court of Victoria state awarded her an Australian-record payout of $3.4 million (A$4.7 million) after a jury concluded she’d missed out on film roles because of the articles. Wilson had sought $5 million in damages.
But this June the amount was reduced by 90 percent after the magazine’s publishers, Bauer Media, appealed. Victoria’s Court of Appeal said Wilson could not prove economic loss, or that she’d missed out on film contracts as a result of the articles. The court ordered the actress to pay back almost $3 million, and 80 percent of Bauer’s legal costs.
Wilson’s lawyers on Friday sought leave to appeal against the reduction in the High Court — Australia’s highest judicial body — but the application was refused.
“In our opinion there are insufficient prospects that an appeal will succeed,” Justice Virginia Bell said at the court in the national capital, Canberra.
The magazine publisher welcomed the decision. “Bauer Media is invested in its Australian business now more than ever,” Bauer chief executive Paul Dykzeul said in a statement. “Our audience trust our content and our writers and they love our iconic brands like Woman’s Day and Australian Women’s Weekly.”
Wilson, who sat in the front row of the public gallery during the brief hearing, said outside the court she was glad the process had been brought to an end.
“This has been a long fight and a long journey in the courts, but the great thing about today is that it brings it to a definitive end,” she told reporters.
“The whole reason for bringing this case is that I wanted to stand up to a bully, which is Bauer Media.”
Wilson said she was proud of herself for “seeing it out right to the bitter end,” and that she was glad the initial jury had “restored my reputation.”
“Today was just about a small point of special damages and for me it was never about the money, it was about standing up to a bully and I’ve done that.”
Wilson is a native Australian best known for her Hollywood roles in the “Pitch Perfect” films and “Bridesmaids.”