Published: Thu, August 09, 2018

The Oscars have announced a brand new category

The Oscars have announced a brand new category

The Academy Awards have always gotten a lot of flack from movie fans. The Oscars are adding a new category to honor popular films and promising a brisk 3-hour ceremony on a much earlier air date of February 9, 2020.

To accommodate a three-hour ceremony, the Academy will present select categories live in the Dolby Theatre and during commercial breaks.

Going forward, some awards will be presented during commercial breaks, with edited acceptance speeches broadcast later in the program.

Another change includes the addition of Outstanding Achievement in Popular Film. It's easy to imagine that if academy members think a film will be taken care of in the Best Popular Film category, they won't need to vote for its writing, directing or acting, or consider it for Best Picture. They argue the change "will not affect awards eligibility dates or the voting process". This is a big move up for the Oscars 2020 airdate, as the 91st Academy Awards are scheduled to air on February 24, 2019, with nominations to be announced on January 22.

There's an important through-line, here.

Per THR, here are the main three changes. The Academy is determined to reverse a trend of shrinking viewership to its annual telecast.

Dawn Hudson, it has been revealed that Outstanding Popular Film will be a new award at next year's ceremony, one of three changes to the show shared Wednesday. They want those eyeballs.

This week, there was a meeting at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences that produced a few new changes that will, ostensibly, remold how the Oscars are handled from here on out.


IndieWire chief film critic Eric Kohn told The Washington Post that the "crass" category frustrates him. That same year, the Academy also reinstated a "preferential ballot" for Best Picture voting that allows members to rank films according to preference in that category, rather than simply picking one victor.

"Here's the ten highest-grossing films, when accounting for inflation aka America's most "popular" films," Palotta wrote. These aren't questions to which we have answers, yet.

The Academy's reason for adding "popular" films is a hope that the new award will help attract more viewers.

Today's announcement seems like a decidedly inelegant gambit to accelerate, or perhaps do an end-run around, that process, and all for the objective of Nielsen ratings.

The recently announced changes to the Oscars have many of our forum posters up in arms, but they also raise a number of questions.

The Academy has made this promise before, of course.

It did not say which of the 24 awards handed out on Oscars night would be shifted. No further details were shared, but that category will probably air live, and be a nod to massive comic book movies like "Black Panther" - which just hit another domestic milestone.

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