The Academy Awards has decided not to introduce a new Oscar for "outstanding achievement in popular film" after the idea drew widespread backlash.
It was not immediately clear how the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences was planning to use the popular film category, or how the new award would impact films that had already been released prior to the announcement.
"There has been a wide range of reactions to the introduction of a new award, and we recognise the need for further discussion with our members," Academy chief executive Dawn Hudson said in a statement on Thursday, announcing the suspension of the category, which was set to be included in the February 2019 awards show.
“We have made changes to the Oscars over the years — including this year — and we will continue to evolve while also respecting the incredible legacy of the last 90 years," the statement continued.
The Academy had reportedly devised the new category as part of an initiative to revive ratings for the annual awards show, which received just 26.5m viewers in March 2018, the lowest in its 90-year history.
Instead, the Academy announced Thursday it would limit the upcoming show to just three hours, moving six to eight awards presentations into commercial breaks in an effort to reduce the overall length of the broadcast.