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Last month, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced that it would be implementing several changes to the Academy Awards ceremonies, one of which included adding a category "designed around achievement in popular film." Much of the reaction towards this new Popular Movie category was negative, and last week, the Academy announced that it's not going to introduce the category at next year's 91st Academy Awards as previously planned. This happened after the Academy's 54-member board took a vote, and among the many detractors towards this category was Hollywood heavyweight Steven Spielberg.
After more than 40 years of directing and producing major motion pictures, Steven Spielberg's opinion definitely carries weight in the entertainment industry, and when the Academy members came together last week to vote on the Popular Movie category's future, sources who spoke to The New York Times said that Spielberg "was uncomfortable" with introducing this category at the next Oscars ceremony. Joining Spielberg on the opposition was Star Wars: The Last Jedi's Laura Dern, while John Bailey, the organization's president, was among the supporters. In the end, the members decided it was better to hold off on bringing in this new Oscar category rather than rush it out in time for the 91st ceremony, which will be held on February 24.
As things stand now, the plan is for the Academy to continue discussing this Popular Movie category and seeking input on it, though there's no timeframe on what a final decision about it will be made, let alone when it could be implemented. There have been a number of questions regarding this category, including what exactly constitutes a "popular" movie, if it's meant to be a consolation prize for blockbusters that normally wouldn't be considered for getting a Best Picture nomination, and how many movies could earn a Popular nomination.
It's possible that later down the line, Steven Spielberg might change his mind about this category once more thought and work has been poured into hashing out the specifics, but for now, it's clear that he was not keen it not being a part of the next ceremony. However, change is still on the horizon for the Academy Awards, as the Academy is moving forward with shortening the broadcast to three hours by showing some winners during the commercial break and airing them together in montage segments, as well intends to air the 2020 ceremony on February 6, weeks before when it would usually drop.
Steven Spielberg's latest movie, Ready Player One, is now available on home media, and his upcoming directorial endeavors include Indiana Jones 5 and a West Side Story remake. If you're interested in learning what movies are hitting theaters later this year, feel free to look through our 2018 release schedule.