The Oscars Announce New “Popular Film” Category

The Academy Awards is getting a new category. The result of Tuesday’s Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Board of Governors meeting, Best Popular Film will be added to the list of Oscars, beginning in 2019.

The new addition is seemingly in response to historically low ratings for the awards show telecast, which has already been bumped up from its originally scheduled February 24, 2019 and February 23, 2020 dates to February 9, marking the earliest broadcast to date. This will allow the Oscars to take place before rival awards shows. When The Academy Awards began, they were held in May.

The Board also decided that the awards show will run three hours, while refusing to televise less attractive categories.

As it stands, however, the Best Popular Film category appears to be highly subjective in definition. In addition, some are pointing out that quality pictures such as Black Panther may be taken out of consideration for Best Picture accreditation, by being lumped into the Best Popular Film category.

Nonetheless, you can read The Academy’s message to members, from CEO Dawn Hudson and re-elected president John Bailey, 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:

1. A three-hour Oscars telecast

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.

2. New award category

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

3. Earlier airdate for 92nd Oscars

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

Now, here’s how a film wins the Oscar for Best Picture.

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