The change seems to have come after the 90th annual Oscar awards show hit a record-low in TV ratings. Following that, the ABC/Disney executives reportedly met with the Academy board again to have an honest discussion about what they felt needed to change in order to get the ratings back up.
A shorter running time was one of the key elements, but the inclusion of a new category honoring "popular films" seems to have been another thing they pushed hard for.
The move had been quite controversial among social media users, with many commenting that they don't see the need for — of point of — a "popular films" category.
Oscars will now have a "Popular" Picture winner outside of the "Best" Picture category, decided by the winners of the "Condescending Snobs" category. 🙄— Tom Bergeron (@Tom_Bergeron) August 9, 2018
"The Oscar ratings have been in steady decline because the status of motion pictures have diminished in the pop culture imagination," one person tweeted. "We’re almost a decade into YouTube stars, binge-worthy shows and superlative sandbox game experiences. A 'Popular Movie' category won’t help."
"So excited that the Academy is going to hand out the new Popular Movie Oscars award during its own TV spot in the middle of a Super Bowl ad break, thus assuring the biggest possible audience for it," someone else joked.
My big idea for the Oscars in that Big Picture pod - make every film decide whether they’re submitting for “Best Picture” or “Most Popular Movie.” Can’t be in both categories.— Bill Simmons (@BillSimmons) August 9, 2018
"Actually my favorite part of the Oscars is watching the people who work behind the scenes get a chance to be celebrated," another person confessed. "Costume, sound, set, and cinematography are what makes movies impactful."
Other new categories:— Adam McKay (@GhostPanther) August 8, 2018
-Best movie where shit blowed up good.
-Hottest female alien
- Best back flip to avoid a thrown knife
-Best knife throw
-Best “you thought he was dead but now he’s back and REALLY kicking ass” https://t.co/LI61qULdC9
At this time, there are no specific details available on what exactly will constitute a "popular" film, but the Academy has said that more information will be made available in the near future.