Oscars Adds Popular Movie Category, Announces Other Big Changes

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Details and eligibility requirements of the new category, which will honour "outstanding achievement in popular film", will be forthcoming.

The new category was announced in a letter to Academy members that also reveals the 2020 date of the Oscars ceremony will be moved to earlier in February than the event usually runs. Future TV broadcasts of the ceremony will be shorter, promising "an entertaining show in three hours, delivering a more accessible Oscars for our viewers worldwide".

Going forward, some awards will be presented during commercial breaks, with edited acceptance speeches broadcast later in the program. Does ABC, which airs the Oscars, actually think this will entice more people to watch its three-hour long broadcast? Indeed, an "artistic" film category would have been a more sensible addition to the Oscars, since Best Picture was already modeled on the slightly more business-specific award. 91st Oscars telecast is now scheduled for Sunday, February 24, 2019. After being harshly criticized for ignoring performers of color in its 2015 and 2016 broadcasts, the Oscars began to institute sweeping changes. There are no other details available about the award yet, including eligibility information, but the change is part of a continued effort by the Academy to keep the Oscars "relevant in a changing world".

The Hollywood Reporter printed a message from the Academy to its members, outlining the new changes approved by the Board of Governors. "[We] took this charge seriously". This is likely to get out of the way of some of the other awards ceremonies that take place around that time. The Academy has shifted dates over the years, usually from March in the 1940s and 1980s and April in the 1960s and 1970s before settling in February in the mid-2000s. But if a film isn't deemed worthy of one of the 10 available spots in the Best Picture category, you aren't honoring it by giving it an obviously lesser trophy. Initially the decision to open up the best picture race seemed to work. The Golden Globes, Screen Actors Guild, Independent Spirit Awards, and Critics' Choice Awards all are announced prior to the Oscars and often recognize the same actors and filmmakers who go on to win Academy Awards.

In another attempt at appealing to viewers, the Academy also said that they voted to limit the Oscar telecast to 3 hours.

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