Will Academy Awards’ new Popular Film category hurt Black Panther’s Best Picture odds?

The Academy Awards have decided it’s time to cave to the masses and created a new category. But I’m curious if this new Outstanding Achievement in Popular Film will be a catch-all spot for the highest grossing (popular) films and hurt their chances in other categories.

My main concern is if this would be the Academy’s chance to make a big splash and slot Black Panther in the category. It would be the inaugural Popular Film winner, which would carry a certain amount of distinction and historical footnote, but Black Panther was more than a popular movie. It was a box office movement. Most of the big Oscars favorites won’t be released until the fall, but Black Panther still seems like a very safe bet as a major player come award nomination season.

If the Academy allows for double dipping i.e. Black Panther can be in both Best Film and Popular Film or Incredibles 2 can compete in Best Animated and Popular Film that would work, but it seems unfair to other nominees.

Ideally, Popular Film would work for those big blockbusters like Avengers: Infinity War, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, Deadpool 2 and Mission: Impossible – Fallout. Those films that are just fun without necessarily having a deeper meaning or statement behind them. It seems like the Academy should have instituted this category six years ago to capitalize on Marvel’s The Avengers buzz.

What do you think of this new category? Do you think some popular films that truly are Best Picture worthy will get the consolation prize of a Popular Film nomination?

Photo Credit: Walt Disney Pictures