The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has decided that the Oscars will be a bit different in the future: The ceremony will be shorter (maybe), run earlier in the year and include a new category.
The Board of Governors, staff, Academy members, and various working groups spent the last several months discussing improvements to the show.
The devil is in the details. The new category will be called the Outstanding Achievement in Popular Film and was announced by Academy President John Bailey and Academy CEO Dawn Hudson in a letter (via THR).
The most attention-grabbing announcement is the arrival of a new award for Outstanding Achievement in Popular Film.
It also announced that presentation would be aired at a much earlier date than expected, in February 2020. Starting next year, the ceremony will now be shown in what the Academy describes as "a more globally accessible, three-hour telecast". "The winning moments will then be edited and aired later in the broadcast". Those categories haven't been determined, but there has been push-back in the past in awards-season shows (not just the Oscars) from below-the-line crafts wary of having their categories nudged off the main broadcast. Further details and eligibility requirements are yet to be announced, but the category is expected to cater to more blockbuster and genre films, often seen as maligned by awards ceremonies. They argue the change "will not affect awards eligibility dates or the voting process".
In a statement, it said: "We have heard from many of you about improvements needed to keep the Oscars and our Academy relevant in a changing world".
Does that mean even less Academy recognition for similar films now that they may have a separate category?
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. 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.