Has "the film business passed away" with its "most popular" Oscars category?

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In light of the fact that this year's Academy Awards ran nearly four hours and was the least-watched Oscars to date, the Academy has announced they are shortening the broadcast to three hours.

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. The Academy announced that they would reveal winners in smaller categories during commercial breaks.

A shorter running time was one of the key elements, but the inclusion of a new category honoring "popular films" seems to have been another thing they pushed hard for.

"Change is coming to the Oscars", tweeted the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which has traditionally put together the glittering awards gala each year in late February or early March.

The Academy did not offer specifics about how the category will be defined. "Popular films" are often the mainstream smash hits that resonate with the general audience but not so much with Academy voters, creating a sharp divide between voters and viewers in the process. It was so popular and well-liked that the film, even before this announcement, had gained major Oscar buzz, with many feeling it would be the equivalent to this year's Logan or even Get Out, both popular films that were nominated for (and in the latter's case, won) Oscars for their troubles.

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Fans of this year's superhero sensation "Black Panther", from Disney's Marvel Studios, have been arguing that it deserves a best picture nomination.

Making space for "popular" films essentially causes a disparity among mainstream and lesser-known cinema - which sends a message that while all films deserve critical merit and scrutiny, some are just more deserving of "better" merits than others.

In 2009, it expanded the number of best picture nominees from five to 10 in a bid to open up the competition.

The introduction to the "Best Popular Movie" category is a slap in the face to movie lovers everywhere.

The next Oscars ceremony will take place in Hollywood on February 24, as previously announced.

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