The 2019 Oscars will be shorter, sooner & there will be a category for ‘Black Panther’


Oscar Awards 2018 Press Room

My first thought when I read the highlights of this story was “wow, the Academy is doing the most to ensure that at least one Oscar goes to Black Panther.” It’s good that Vanity Fair thought the same thing. The Academy (AMPAS) has released some information about how they’re going to change the Academy Awards, starting with the 2019 ceremony. I hate all of the suggestions, by the way. But here we go:

The Film Academy just revealed a series of changes to the Academy Awards that have major implications. On Wednesday, president John Bailey and C.E.O. Dawn Hudson announced the three key changes: shortening the telecast to a firm three hours, setting an earlier date for the ceremony itself, and, most importantly, adding a new category for outstanding achievement in popular film. This marks the first time a new category has been announced since 2001, when best animated feature was added to the awards slate.

This is an enormous move for the Academy, a sign that the elite institution is once again trying to find more ways to reward the sorts of movies typically seen by the filmgoing public—and get more viewers to tune in to the annual ceremony. Adding this category could, conceivably, help ameliorate accusations that the institution has fallen out of step with popular culture (a contributing factor to the ceremony’s diminishing viewership).

Though the Academy doesn’t intimate this in its letter, it’s easy to imagine that this new category was inspired by the blockbuster success of Black Panther. It’s no secret that Disney is setting an awards campaign in motion for the film, angling not just for technical nods, but also for a hallowed best-picture nom. If this new category debuts at the 2019 ceremony, Black Panther seems like a lock (unless Mamma Mia! 2 intervenes), giving the Academy a way to ensure recognition for one of the biggest, most culturally impactful films of the year.

[From Vanity Fair]

Before the discussion of the new category, let’s just take in the other changes being made. A firm three-hour show doesn’t sound too bad, except my concern is that they’ll still keep all of the filler bullsh-t and then they won’t allow the smaller-category award winners on stage to make their speeches. Like, instead of the endless fakakta montages and dumb “bits” throughout the show, why not just do a straight-forward show, like… *gasp* the Golden Globes?

As for making the Oscars earlier – they’re saying, like, the first or second Sunday in February. Which seems mega-crazy considering how jam-packed the awards season has gotten. I would suggest starting a bit slower, maybe just moving it up one week, see how that goes, and then maybe two weeks. No more than that, or else entertainment journalists and bloggers will be completely f–king strung out for like six weeks straight as there’s an awards show every f–king night. That’s something that should be dealt with too: there is NO NEED for half of the movie award shows at this point. Keep it simple, and with the Big Four: the Globes, the SAGs, the BAFTAs and the Oscars. That’s all we need.

As for the Popular Film category… I feel like it’s a cop-out, but it’s not entirely the Academy’s fault. They can’t help it if their largest voting bloc is composed of white dudes over the age of 70 who only want to give awards to Gary Oldman and Jennifer Lawrence. They can’t help it that those voters are incapable of moving with the times and recognizing films that aren’t spoon-fed to them through exhaustive Oscar campaigns. This feels so pandering, right? Like, “here’s your ‘special Oscar’ for being so popular, but you weren’t a good enough artsy-film to get a real Oscar.”

Annual Critics Choice Movie Awards

Annual Critics Choice Movie Awards

Photos courtesy of WENN, Black Panther.

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51 Responses to “The 2019 Oscars will be shorter, sooner & there will be a category for ‘Black Panther’”

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  1. Neelyo says:

    They should just call it the Black Panther Award and be done with it.It will probably only exist for a year anyway.

    Award season has been so thoroughly diluted that awards are about as relevant as review blurbs from unknown bloggers. And it’s such a slog. Even the stars on the red carpet at the Oscars look worn out.

    Combining many of the other awards into a montage prevents the airing of the most potentially controversial speeches. They don’t want to offend anyone.

  2. Millenial says:

    Oscar voters will just use this as an excuse to exclude BP and other popular films from the other categories like Best Picture, and make the “real” awards full of even more high brow films the public isn’t super interested in seeing. I finally saw Shape of Water, and Jesus, was it boring. We didn’t even finish it.

    • Mara says:

      Yes, this ^. And I worry that the popular film category will end up dominated by Dunkirks and American Snipers, films that made a lot of money but aren’t really in the vein of popcorn blockbusters that the Oscars shut out.
      I like the idea of moving the ceremony to early Feb though. Awards season is currently too long and by the time I get to the Oscars, the winners are a a foregone conclusion and I’m sick of all the nominees due to their prolonged exposure.

    • Char says:

      If Leonardo DiCaprio can win over been attacked by a fake bear, why can’t a movie like Black Panther be on the “serious” category? There’s drama, there’s acting, are these old white dudes trying to tell us that Emma Stone in that crappy La La Land gave better performance than any lady in BP did? Robert Downey Jr. has been giving solid performance as Tony Stark for years, same as Tom Hiddleston as Loki, both deserved nominations for their first movies in the MCU.
      The Shape of Water is awful, it’s not even close to any Marvel or animated movie in terms of fun or even villany.
      No one watches those Oscar bait movies, they should know that.

    • beatrixkiddo says:

      Yup. This was my thought too.

  3. laulau says:

    This is so dumb. They already have 10 best pic noms, why not just slide Black Panther into that? If there are too many film nominees it dilutes the meaning. That said, the oscars are boring. It’s like if we went to watch a movie and at the end I’m like, “that was awesome” and you were all “no, no, we came here to watch the closing credits”.
    100% their biggest problem is waaaaaaay too many names said out loud, just lists of names no one’s even heard of. They should just ask the nominees who they’d like to thank and superimpose that list onto the screen.

  4. Cidy says:

    God, this is such an outdated system. And by the way, black people aren’t stupid. Near guarantee that the new spot is where they are going to put in a token black movie to not seem so blatantly racist.

    These people want to be pampered and catered too by the “artists” of the film world and that’s why the awards season is such a drag, they also dont want to be called out, what a way to shelter themselves.

  5. Rapunzel says:

    #oscarssodumb Black Panther is a work of art as good as any film that’s ever won best picture. There is no need for a separate category. That they need to consider one shows how out of touch they are.

  6. Queenb says:

    What a massive insult.

    The Oscars will always have a problem because people are just interested in the actors and maybe a director or two. Or if a big musician is nominated.
    And all those award shows are not only creating a fatigue but obviously the same people who vote for the SAGs or WGAs or DGAs are voting at the Oscars. It is absolutely right that writers are voting for the Writers Guild Award and the screenplay categories at the Oscars but obviously we know who will win before the Oscars.

    Add to that with the future outlook being at lot more pessimistic in general no one wants to see wealthy and famous people celebrating themselves in dresses that cost more than most people making in a life time. WHile they are talking about the importance of equality…

  7. Mel says:

    That is….extremely condescending! Towards the people involved in the making of these movies as well as the audiences. But what else can we expect from the academy. The lack of self-awareness and, worse, the complete absence of any will to change or even acknowledge their shortcomings and bias continues to be their downfall…
    I used to stay up all night (living in Europe) to watch the oscars. Now they are the old facist and bigotted man living on your street that has not seen that times have changed. Smh.
    I’m guessing the acting category is not the one that will be cut. Anybody wonders if DDL’s Lincoln would have been as effective without the costume, hair and make-up or Silence of the Lambs without the set and lighting? The list goes on…

  8. Becks1 says:

    If Black Panther deserves to win Best Picture, it deserves to win Best Picture. Period. none of this “best popular movie” bullshit. What does that mean, anyway? A certain box office amount? Titanic won best picture and was obviously extremely popular. It’s not like the two are mutually exclusive. Shouldn’t Oscar WANT the best picture winners to be popular?

    I feel the same way about Best Animated Picture, although in this day and age there are so many of those that I get the separate category, but if a movie is one of the best of the year, it should be in the best picture category. Never forget – Beauty and the Beast, best picture nominee, when there was no animated category and only 4 nominees for best picture. (that’s my favorite lol.)

    • Algernon says:

      This is what is so strange to me because up until maybe 10 years ago the Oscars regularly nominated/awarded huge popular films. Remember Return of the King sweeping? Then something changed and all of a sudden the Oscars were too noble to notice popular movies. I remember people being legitimately shocked when The Dark Knight wasn’t nominated because it’s exactly the kind of popular movie the Academy used to like, big, flashy cinema from an aueteur that got rave reviews and big box office. But they shut it out and that divide has only gotten worse sense. I feel like they made this new category not to ensure Black Panther gets a nomination, but to ensure it doesn’t get the *big* nomination. Like they want to make sure the riff-raff stays out of best picture. It’s insulting to the people who make those movies and also to the audiences who love them.

      • Millenial says:

        Yup, I remember when it was common for movies a large amount people actually saw to be nomination – Saving Private Ryan, Gladiator, Braveheart, etc… to be fair, those are all male dominated war films, essentially, but at least they were popular films that got Academy recognition.

        I do wonder to what extent this is the impact of superhero films being the most popular films now. I still think several superhero films are quite good — The Dark Knight is an excellent example and definitely should have been nominated that year. With the field expanded to 10, Black Panther should be a shoo-in. I would even argue for Infinity War. But, I doubt the Academy will see it that way.

      • Algernon says:

        I think this is the crux of the matter, that the popular movies now are “kids” movies. They’re not considering that our ongoing and endless wars have killed people’s desires to see actual war depicted on screen, and we have supplanted that with superhero movies because they are fantastical and allow us to process cultural trauma without having to repeat that trauma explicitly.

  9. grabbyhands says:

    I’m still pressed that they moved the date from the end of March to the end of February, which meant there was very little I’d be able to see on video and if I wanted to cover all the categories, I was going to have to shell out a lot of money to see it in the theater (oh for the days when I or someone I knew was working for the little indie theaters here in Seattle).

    As for the popular movie category, their desperation is showing and it isn’t a good look. It’s pretty obvious it is an attempt to bring those viewers while also reminding them that they’re not QUITE as good as a REAL movie.

    Having said that – I admit, I’m on the fence a little – the push to let blockbuster movies be part of the game has been around for years, and I get it. That’s what most people watch. Most of the time that’s what I watch. But at the same time, then you give awards to movies that may have made money but that don’t really have any other business getting an award for anything other than “we used a lot of clever CGI”. I DO think Black Panther deserves something other than an MTV movie award – it was well done and it had enormous cultural impact. But doing it this way seems insulting. It is at best, a band aid to deal with the fact that the Academy still has an old white guy problem. At worst, it is pandering to help themselves on the ratings.

  10. INeedANap says:

    I think as the public grows more knowledgeable about how campaigning for awards works, and the seemingly random choices made by the voters, the Oscars and related awards will simply hold less weight.

    Black Panther, and similar films, will become iconic on their own. Maybe we will simply care less about the “Oscar award winning” stamp.

  11. Astrid says:

    I can’t remember the last time I watched an award show. Do regular people really care?

  12. Prettykrazee says:

    This is so dumb. This popular Oscar is a consolation prize. Just like the Best Animated Movie Oscar. If a film is good then it should be nominated for Best Picture. Period. I thought the entire reason for opening the number of nominations to ten movies a few years ago was to get more popular movies nominated? So that didn’t work out? And let try this?

    And moving ‘smaller’ nominations off the air. These people work their entire life making movies. Let them get some shine for 30 seconds on air. Without them the movies would not be as good as they are to get nominated. If the need to shorten the broadcast, how about not showing clips of the same movie 20 times each time it comes up for an award? I don’t need to see a 2 minute clip for each nomination of Director, Cinematographer, Costume, Sound etc. Once Is enough.

    • Lightpurple says:

      My elderly great aunt is a huge movie buff and for most of her 89 years has made an effort to see every film nominated in every category. For the last 10 years or so, as she has become less mobile, I have joined her on this quest. Some of the best films I have seen in the past decade have been in the shorts categories. We have seen documentaries that have made us cry, laugh and sing and animated creations that have made us marvel at the human mind and spirit. Big summer blockbusters are where the nominees for technical categories and sometimes makeup and costumes can be found. Fall brings the acting fare and the gamble becomes guessing which performances will score nominations in films that won’t. Many movie theaters do Best Picture showcases that will screen all the film nominees over 2 weekends and some local museums and small theaters air the shorts. Netflix often has most of the documentaries. The foreign language films are harder because they often haven’t released here yet. When you have seen all the films, it makes the ceremony a lot more interesting

      • Prettykrazee says:

        Ooh I would to be able to do that! But the part of the country I live in makes it extremely hard. I do try to see all the films nominated for Best Picture before the telecast. But sometimes that is hard and I have to make a special trip to a theatre located miles away to see them. I don’t have a local or small theater near me. Only multiplexes. And they rarely screen the nominees before the telecast. And now they are moving it up 3 weeks, it will make it even harder. I do watch the documentaries on Netflix.

  13. Sarah says:

    This is a flat-out insulting. This is coming from the same people who nominated the Darkest Hour snooze-fest for best picture last year. But Black Panther is not good enough for this category??!! SMDH

  14. Jenns says:

    Just adding to the chorus on how stupid this is. I haven’t read one piece on this where someone thinks this is a good idea.

    If you want to make the show shorter, cut the montages and the songs. Just give out the awards and let people have their moment.

  15. Mellie says:

    Why don’t they just add popularity/ticket sales into the metric of the best picture category? They could have just revamped the qualifications of that category.

  16. magnoliarose says:

    If they wanted to break down categories why not break down types of movies: Best Comedy. Best Action Film. Best Drama. Best performances and directors in said categories. It takes different skill sets to make high quality films in those categories so why not award people who are good in their niche.
    Best Popular film is lazy and obvious. If they want more inclusion and to escape criticism then BE more inclusive with membership and encourage the industry to change.
    Academy membership should have to be renewed based on how active someone is in the current climate. If they haven’t made a movie since the 70s then they should no longer be able to vote. If they won their Oscar in 1992 then they get 25 years or whatever to be a member before either winning and getting their tenure extended. If during those years they never participate in the industry again; at some point, they should leave the Academy.

    • Prettykrazee says:

      Remember They did change the length of membership rules a couple years back when there was the #Oscarssowhite controversy. Nominees and winners get to keep their lifetime membership to the academy. And members have to be active in a 10 year span to get their membership renewed for another 10 years then after 30 years it’s lifetime. I don’t know what active means. It was supposed to take effect retroactively. You are right though, If you haven’t made a movie since the 70s or 80s then you shouldn’t be voting. I like the idea of the types of movie breakdown. But that would add to the length of the telecast and they are trying to cut it. I don’t think the length of the telecast is the problem. I think it’s the content. The telecast is boring.

      • magnoliarose says:

        Oh yeah, they did do that. I did forget about that.
        The telecast is very boring. I think the format is stale. They should find a way to change the way it is hosted. If they broke it down into categories they could have segments hosted by someone well known and popular from that category. Then it would be like watching comedians honor their peers and legends. They would get more stars on the stage to make people tune in. But they would need better producers who would know how to keep things flowing and entertaining.
        Rethink the music nominations. I have had enough of sitting through boring performances of forgettable songs.
        Oscars should differentiate their types of awards from the other because by the time it comes around it is already a given who will win or be nominated. When things are more equal I hope acting awards aren’t separated by gender. A good performance is just what it is.
        How about a best new talent award.

      • Prettykrazee says:

        They need to hire you on as a producer! You have some great ideas! A best new talent award is a good idea. Its like the Grammys best new artist award.

        Some of the musical performances are horribly boring but some of the are great! I really enjoyed Auli’i Moana performance. But I might be biased because Moana was one of my favorite films during 2016. And felt it should have been nominated for Best Picture not just Best Animated. It sure was better than LaLa Land. Maybe they should get a very popular in demand music producer to spice up the musical arrangements? That might step on some toes though.

        We just came up with a few ideas off the top of our head in a few minutes. What are the people who actually get paid to do this thinking? Those changes were the best they could come up with? Punishing the lesser known people and a consolation prize? They really are in need of some fresh blood.

      • AnneC says:

        Just add tv shows (IMO the best content these days is being shown on Netflix etc) and add booze and get rid of all the filler in the middle. Oops, we already have that, it’s called the golden globes.

  17. Tiffany says:

    So they are gonna get rid of finding someone to host, right?
    Because the only person who does it well is Billy Crystal and ABC has decided to sail him out to sea.

  18. PlayItAgain says:

    Seriously, would it have killed them to just slip Black Panther into the list of too many best film noms? If I remember correctly, the reason they went from five to a possible 10 best film noms is because they kept being accused of snubbing popular films. Were the core academy elites worried that all the newer, younger, more diverse voters would swing popular instead of Indy?

  19. TyrantDestroyed says:

    I lIke the idea of the new category as long as it doesn’t turn into MTV awards. So many years the best movie winner is a film that nobody watched or intents to watch a second time so it seems like a good idea to have the popular pleaser.

  20. Case says:

    I think they just need to put these “popular films” in the Best Picture category. Animated films are included in that category sometimes, so why not “popular” films? While I love watching the more artsy Oscar-nominated films, I’ve been most influenced and touched by films that don’t win awards, but mean something to me and are still very well written and acted.

    What Marvel achieved with Black Panther (and honestly Infinity War too, which I consider an incredible accomplishment) deserves recognition:

    • Algernon says:

      Since the creation of the animated feature Oscar in 2002, only two animated movies have been nominated for best picture (up and Toy Story 3). So while it is possible a movie could be nominated as both popular and best picture, the biases of the academy indicate that won’t happen often and that the popular award will, like the animated award, be a ghetto for movies the academy doesn’t think are quite up to scratch.

  21. Who ARE These People? says:

    It’s a Miss Congeniality prize and it’s insulting all right.

    Good movies are good movies.

  22. Amelie says:

    This is not the first time they have moved up the date of the Oscars. Back in the 90s and mid 2000s, the Oscars always fell around my birthday which is March 26th and that’s how I remember. Starting around 2007, they moved up the Oscars to end of February/beginning of March and I remember being taken back because I knew they always used to be around my birthday. I can’t remember what the reason was back then but it’s been like that for over 10 years now. So moving the date up is nothing new and has been done before. I have no issue with them moving it up. I’d rather have it out of the way, I’m the only person I know who is not a fan of awards seasons and who doesn’t care about the fashion. The awards have become so meaningless at this point.

    If they made the Oscars the same format as the Golden Globes, as in they made it a dinner and made it less stuffy and more relaxed I’d be more excited to watch it. But the Oscars haven’t been fun to watch for years now. So yes, move the date up and make it shorter so I don’t have to be inundated with the coverage!

    As for the new award they are obviously trying to stay relevant in a world that prefers streaming over watching a tedious awards ceremony live that is peppered with too many commercials. Nobody has the span of attention for that anymore.

  23. Kiki says:

    SCREW YOU Oscars. This is complete utter nonsense. Do these people really want the movies going public they would except this “Outstanding popular movie” would be a great way for inclusion. These dumb rich white men are such full of S***. This is why I don’t watch Oscars and their ratings are low.

  24. Maureen says:

    The Oscars are all about political correctness now and have zero credibility. Because of that ratings will continue to plummet.

  25. Honey bear says:

    I love the Oscars and the movies they nominate. A movie with CGI and exlposions is NOT art. It’s remedial entertainment for the masses. Go watch the peoples choice awards if you’re looking for that. If the academy thought these comic book movies were masterpieces, they’d nominate for Best Picture. Period.

    • KHLBHL says:

      I agree, though I do think there needs to be some consideration for why people would consider this to be insulting, especially for a landmark movie like Black Panther.

      Black Panther was far superior than anything Marvel has put out thus far, and is one of the best superhero movies, but I agree that it’s not really “Best Picture.” Everything came together really well and it was well acted, well written, well directed, but…it’s a comic book movie. That will always be a detractor for Academy members. Besides, it already won the box office, so why does it need Oscars for validation?

      More than being outright racist (which some members are, of course), I think that the Academy places high value on maintaining the prestige of the awards. The Oscars are still the preeminent film award globally and are taken seriously by audiences and critics. The Academy of course would do anything to preserve their existence and identity. Their egos and legacies are intimately tied with what the Oscars signify. To Academy members (and to me – not that I matter so much) comic book movies in general don’t really rank amongst as “greatest movies of all time.” BP will definitely be able to win some technical awards, though. I really hope so, because BP deserves it. I mean….if Suicide Squad won an Oscar….BP should be at least nominated for all the technical awards.

      I don’t think this category should have been created in the first place, but now that it’s there I think it was created primarily to attract younger viewers, NOT to pander and be “politically correct” (although that was probably also a selling factor when the Academy created it). BP and comic book movies inevitably will have an appeal with a younger demographic, which is what the Academy wants in its Oscar viewing audience.

      Spike Lee’s “Blackkklansman” will probably get a bunch of awards nominations and Oscars, so people shouldn’t think this Black Panther move is necessarily one out of racial prejudice or condescension (although, again, that is certainly an aspect of it). It’s more a move to expand their viewing audience to “young people” (as if that will work). The Academy should realize the shrinkage in viewers is due primarily to a tectonic shift to cable-cutting and mobile devices.

      To me, Blackklansman is a far superior movie than BP, though both are important to culture in different ways. Blackklansman is a type of movie that should get nominated for Best Picture because it has greater artistic merit than a mass appeal popcorn blockbuster comic book movie. In my opinion. And I think most Academy members will think this way. They just don’t award comic book movies for things like acting, screenplay, and best picture.

      I don’t want movies like Wonder Woman/Captain Marvel, Crazy Rich Asians, or Love, Simon to get nominated for Academy Awards. That doesn’t mean they aren’t important movies. That doesn’t mean they aren’t enjoyable movies. That doesn’t mean those types of movies shouldn’t get made on a regular basis in Hollywood. That doesn’t mean representation isn’t important. But they aren’t necessarily “Oscar Best Picture worthy.” I think that’s important to distinguish.

      That all being said, I do think the creation of this category was a bad move on all fronts.

  26. nikki says:

    The Grammys? You’d have an argument, those members–including the “step up” comment regarding women–are awful. The Academy and the movies they nominate, though, I don’t have an issue with. Just because something is a big, blast-y action movie and makes a lot of money, doesn’t mean it deserves an award. “Black Panther” can’t compare with something that’s a cinematic masterpiece.

    I’m a huge cinemaphile, this category is a cop-out.

  27. Yes Doubtful says:

    This is dumb. How about expanding their voting base so well-made popular films with POC and women have a shot? The Grammy’s need to do this as well. As for the show time…It should only be major awards. No one cares about best editing or cinematography or costumes. Acting, writing, docs, directing, music, some jokes, done.

    But to be quite frank, would any of the changes amount to much anyway? It’s the age of social media… you can watch a clip on Twitter 2 seconds after it airs. Nobody has to sit through a 3 hour show anymore.

  28. Alix says:

    Patronization is just racism dressed up in its Sunday best.