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.
"We have heard from many of you about improvements needed to keep the Oscars and our Academy relevant in a changing world", president John Bailey and CEO Dawn Hudson wrote in an email sent to Academy members.
It's among three changes approved on Tuesday by the Academy's board of governors. Specific categories will be determined at a later date, but the winning moments will be edited and aired in a later broadcast.
This is not the first time the AMPAS has altered their rules in an attempt to get more commercially popular films to the table at the Academy Awards. So the upcoming Oscars will still be held on Sunday, February 24th, 2019 as planned - but the year after that, the broadcast will fall earlier in traditional awards season. Hosted by Jimmy Kimmel, the ceremony also clocked it at almost four hours, making it the longest show in over a decade.More news: Chelsea 'leading' Zaha race
Oscar statues are seen backstage during the 88th Annual Academy Awards at Dolby Theatre on February 28, 2016 in Hollywood, California.
The new Popular Film category is bound to be controversial, even before concrete details about it have been confirmed. 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. Specifically, ratings have been dropping severely and much of that has been blamed on the fact that numerous movies being honored in the top categories aren't necessarily all that popular with the moviegoing public. The 2019 Oscars will proceed as planned on February 24. Period. There's no need to put a "popular film" label on it. And that's saying a lot since you awarded Best Picture to Crash.
This may be inspired by declining Oscar ratings over the years as well as the Best Picture victories for more niche movies like "Spotlight" (2015), "Moonlight" (2016) and "The Shape of Water" (2017). As THR points out, the most successful movies at the box office each year are rarely represented in the main categories and usually have to make do with technical awards. "Popular films are films!"