The Academy Announces Changes That Will Increase Dwayne Johnson's Oscar Chances

IMAGE Relativity Media

Even though we're just a week into August and have yet to clear the summer blockbuster season, it's never too early to start fighting about what movies will win Oscars next spring—especially since most of those Oscar contenders won't hit theaters until December. Luckily for us, the Academy has released some big news about the upcoming 91st Academy Awards, set to air on 24 February, 2019.

First: it will be three hours long, which is nothing new at all? But thanks for the heads up. Second: some of the awards will not be broadcast during the telecast (sorry, Achievement in Sound Effects Editing). And third: there will be a new award category that will celebrate "outstanding achievement in popular film."

While I'm sure Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson sees this as the perfect opportunity to finally win a dang Oscar (he'll have two chances, with both Rampage and Skyscraperout this year), the new category still opens up a lot of questions: How does the Academy decide what is a "popular" film and just a regular old Oscar movie?

Let's take a look at last year's nine Best Picture nominees. There were quite a few popular films judging by their box-office returns alone! Both Get Out and Dunkirkgrossed over $100 million, while Best Picture winner The Shape of Water pulled in over $63 million. (The Post, which your dad loved, also made more than $80 million.)

But I guess the most popular films of the year did not get the Oscar love. The top five grossing films were as follows: Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Beauty and the Beast, Wonder Woman, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. Is the Academy telling us we're going to see more films with colons in their titles earn Oscars? Will this category really be known as Achievement in Sequels and Reboots?


My theory, which is ultimately correct: the Academy has already figured out that it'll look really bad if Black Panther, inarguably the most popular and acclaimed film of the year, does not win Best Picture (or even be nominated for Best Picture), and this is preemptive damage control.

This story originally appeared on

* Minor edits have been made by the editors.

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