Oscars bosses to honour blockbusters with new popular film category

Oscars to create new award for popular movies, cut TV ceremony to three hours

The date for the 2019 show, February 24, remains unchanged.

The Oscars will also be changing the date and time of the broadcast to have wider appeal to a TV audience that has been rapidly dwindling year on year, but it's really this new category that is the big deal here.

It's already clear, however, what the objective of this award is: give blockbuster pictures a chance to walk away with their own Oscar trophies.

Industry observers have complained that sometimes, the Oscars come almost two months after the Golden Globes, making Tinseltown's awards season a marathon of gowns, glitz - and stress.

The Oscars are adding a "popular film" category and shortening the broadcast to a maximum three hours in 2019.

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Actor Rob Lowe tweeted that "the film business passed away today with the announcement of the "popular" film Oscar". It had been in poor health for a number of years. Not to be confused with the "Best Picture" award, the additional category is causing quite the uproar on social media.

The next Oscars ceremony will take place in Hollywood on February 24, as previously announced. The biggest Academy Awards audience on record came in 1998 when the blockbuster "Titanic" was named best picture. The 2018 best picture victor, "The Shape of Water", had grossed $57.4 million in the United States by the time the awards aired and $63.9 million total.

Fans of this year's superhero sensation "Black Panther", from Disney's Marvel Studios, have been arguing that it deserves a best picture nomination. "They initially tried to do something similar about a decade ago when they extended the amount of Best Picture nominees from 5 to 10, because of the uproar when popular movies like "WALL-E" and "The Dark Knight" were being excluded from Best Picture nominations. "Here comes the Academy, establishing a corner to which voters can banish (Black Panther) and other films like it with a pat on the head and a "'thanks for playing'".

This story was reported by The Associated Press.

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