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Disney | ABC Television Group | Flickr.com

Disney | ABC Television Group | Flickr.com

Award shows have been losing viewers due to overly lengthy shows, ever increasing political rhetoric and a simple lack of entertainment. The Oscars are no exception to this rule, and they had an additional problem. The awards were in many cases going to people and films that the average person had either never heard of or had no interest in watching. As such, the Oscars began to be seen as a show for snobs and as following the mentality that anything popular was too low-brow to win awards such as Best Picture. The issue is not new. Plenty of people are still confused as to how “Gandhi” beat “E.T.” for Best Picture in 1983, why “Shakespeare in Love” won over “Saving Private Ryan” in 1999 or what happened to have the revolutionary and explosively popular “Star Wars” lose out to “Annie Hall” in 1977. It was eventually just assumed that no popular, blockbuster or genre film would take home Best Picture.

In an attempt to regain viewers and try to reconnect the insulated Hollywood elite with the rest of the country, the Oscars are adding a new category: Best Popular Film. The awards show will also be cutting its run time to three hours and moving the date of the show up by a few weeks to early February. There is still no clear date as for when the new award will first be given away, but the plan is to celebrate a movie that can claim “outstanding achievement in popular film.” One can only hope this means that the princes and princesses of Tinsel Town are finally recognizing that yes, something can be both popular and impressive at the same time. If not, well, it is not like there is nothing else to watch in early February.

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