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.


Alaska man discovers 50-year-old message in bottle from Russian Navy

Updated 19 August 2019

Alaska man discovers 50-year-old message in bottle from Russian Navy

  • Then Russian Navy Capt. Anatolii Prokofievich Botsanenko wrote the letter when he was a 36-year-old aboard the Sulak
ANCHORAGE, Alaska: A man discovered a 50-year-old letter in a bottle from the Russian Navy on the shores of western Alaska.
Tyler Ivanoff found the handwritten Russian letter early this month while gathering firewood near Shishmaref about 600 miles (966 kilometers) northwest of Anchorage, television station KTUU reported.
“I was just looking for firewood when I found the bottle,” Tyler Ivanoff said. “When I found the bottle, I had to use a screwdriver to get the message out.”
Ivanoff shared his discovery on Facebook where Russian speakers translated the message to be a greeting from a Cold War Russian sailor dated June 20, 1969. The message included an address and a request for a response from the person who finds it.
Reporters from the state-owned Russian media network, Russia-1, tracked down the original writer, Capt. Anatolii Prokofievich Botsanenko, KTUU reported.
He was skeptical he wrote the note until he saw his signature on the bottom.
“There — exactly!” he exclaimed.
The message was sent while the then 36-year-old was aboard the Sulak, Botsanenko said. Botsanenko shed tears when the Russian television reporter told him the Sulak was sold for scrap in the 1990s.
Botsanenko also showed the reporter some souvenirs from his time on the ship, including the autograph of the wife of a famous Russian spy and Japanese liquor bottles, the latter kept over his wife’s protests.
Ivanoff’s discovery of the bottle was first reported by Nome radio station KNOM.