tv & movies

A New Oscars Category Is on the Way as Academy Announces a Few Big Changes

The Academy announces plans for a “globally accessible, three-hour telecast.”

The Oscars are evolving.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences announced Wednesday morning that the prestigious award show is going to be making some changes, including a new category that will be centered around "achievement in popular film." In addition, they are planning a more "globally accessible" three-hour telecast. The annual awards show usually runs over three hours, with the longest show clocking in at four hours and 20 minutes minutes in 2002.

The Academy also mentioned that the 2020 Oscars will be airing weeks earlier than usual on Feb. 8. For comparison, last year’s ceremony aired in early March and the upcoming 2019 show is set for Feb. 24.

The Academy’s board of governors met on Tuesday and reelected president John Bailey for a one year term. Read the full message to Academy members below.

Dear Member,

Last night, the Board of Governors met to elect new board officers, and discuss and approve significant changes to the Oscars telecast.

The Board of Governors, staff, Academy members, and various working groups spent the last several months discussing improvements to the show.

Tonight, the Board approved three key changes:

We are committed to producing an entertaining show in three hours, delivering a more accessible Oscars for our viewers worldwide.

To honor all 24 award categories, we will present select categories live, in the Dolby Theatre, during commercial breaks (categories to be determined). The winning moments will then be edited and aired later in the broadcast.

We will create a new category for outstanding achievement in popular film. Eligibility requirements and other key details will be forthcoming.

The date of the 92nd Oscars telecast will move to Sunday, February 9, 2020, from the previously announced February 23. The date change will not affect awards eligibility dates or the voting process.

The 91st Oscars telecast remains as announced on Sunday, February 24, 2019.

We have heard from many of you about improvements needed to keep the Oscars and our Academy relevant in a changing world. The Board of Governors took this charge seriously.

We are excited about these steps, and look forward to sharing more details with you.

John Bailey and Dawn Hudson

After the news broke, film aficionados immediately dove in to the discussion to give their guesses as to what this new "popular film" category will be. Many wrote that they hoped the category will be about stunt work. For example, Tom Cruise in all "Mission Impossible" films came up once or twice.

However, others tweeted that they aren’t too thrilled with the idea of the Academy only showing select categories live, with the other awards to be given out during commercial breaks.

Other cinephiles were turned off by the idea of a "popular film" category, worrying it could turn the Oscars into a ceremony that panders to popular public opinion, much like the MTV Movie Awards or the People’s Choice Awards.

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