Skip to Content

Oscars Admits ‘Best Popular Film’ Category Was Invented to Increase Ratings with Millennials

The Academy Award’s “Best Popular Film” category introduced this year was designed to help increase the award show’s ratings. During a recent talk at the EnergaCamerimage Festival in Bydgoszcz, Poland, Film Academy President John Bailey said that the award “seemed like a good idea” to the board when it was considering ways to draw in viewers for the program, Variety reports.

The award was nicknamed “The Black Panther award” by critics who thought its inception was a way to give the popular film an award while not allowing it to be eligible for Best Picture.

While backlash prompted the group to remove the Oscar category from the 2019 awards show, Bailey says that the idea isn’t dead, and that we might see some sort of category designed to award the best general release of the year in the future.

“Even after a stake was driven through its heart, there’s still interest,” he told the magazine.

Bailey notes that in 1929 at the very first Academy Awards ceremony there were awards for best box office hit and best artistic production.

Bailey says that Disney, which owns ABC, is looking for ways to expand the award show’s appeal to millennial viewers and the category had seemed like a good fit. Bailey also wants to expand the visibility for the foreign language award, which he says is just as important in his mind as the best picture category.

That said, for now, the Academy doesn’t plan to add any additional categories into the mix. Just don’t consider that decision to be a permanent one.