Rob Lowe has slammed Oscars organisers for introducing a new “popular film” category.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences governors approved a series of changes to the Academy Awards ceremony on Tuesday (07Aug18) – including the introduction of a new prize honouring the year’s biggest films.
The move has attracted strong criticism from industry insiders as a poor way to respond to the increasing box office domination of franchise movies, which tend to be overlooked at the Oscars – with Rob one of those delivering a scathing response to the decision.
“The film business passed away today with the announcement of the “popular” film Oscar,” he wrote on Twitter. “It had been in poor health for a number of years. It is survived by sequels, tent-poles, and vertical integration.”
Actor and comedian Andy Richter was also critical, tweeting: “Finally the Oscars will be giving a statue based on popularity so that those poor mountains of box office money won’t be lonely anymore.”
Others meanwhile, expressed fears that critically acclaimed box office behemoths like Black Panther could be overlooked for Best Picture – forcing Academy bosses to issue a clarification stating that ‘popular film’ nominees would still be eligible for the Oscars’ biggest prize.
The introduction of the new category is not the only change that has caused anger in Hollywood; the governors also approved a move to shorten the Oscars telecast by cutting some categories from the live TV ceremony.
An anonymous member of the Academy’s film editing branch told The Hollywood Reporter that if, as expected, technical awards are dropped, it would be “demeaning” to those who work behind the scenes.
They added: “It’s a big thing for those of us ‘below the line’ (of film credits, as stars and directors are usually listed before technical staff) to get such an award. It makes a big difference in your life and career.”
A decision to bring forward the ceremony to the start of February, rather than the end, from 2020 has also created problems within the industry as the organisers of other awards shows have to be moved to accommodate the new Oscars date.