New ‘Popular Film’ Oscar Draws Wisecracks: ‘Here’s an Inane New Category Nobody Asked For’

Celebrities and observers alike weigh in on Academy’s big announcement, including Zoe Kazan and Rebel Wilson

Oscars statuettes
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The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced plans on Wednesday to shorten the Oscars telecast and create a new category devoted to popular films, eliciting immediate reaction from Twitter skeptics who derided the upcoming changes.

The changes are likely an attempt to boost sagging ratings for the Oscars, which hit a new low this past March after years of steady decline. The rules were adopted by the Academy’s Board of Governors at a meeting on Tuesday night and detailed in an email sent to Academy members on Wednesday morning.

The Academy announced that it would create a category designed to salute “outstanding achievement in popular film.” It has also pledged to keep the show to three hours, and will also hand out “select categories” during commercial breaks, and then edit those presentations to be shown later in the telecast.

The changes drew a swift response from Twitter users, many of whom appeared to hold a particular ire for the new “popular film” category.

“The Big Sick” and “Ruby Sparks” actress Zoe Kazan drew parallels between the changes and the 2016 presidential election.

“Lord of the Rings” star Elijah Wood appeared unapproving.

IndieWire critic David Erlich offered a timeline for future Academy changes.

Village Voice critic Bilge Ebiri shared his preference for a different new category.

Vulture editor Hunter Harris offered a choice criticism of the Academy.

But the new plan has, at least, one fan in “Pitch Perfect” star Rebel Wilson.

See more responses below.