In changes to the awards ceremony announced Wednesday morning nearly certainly created to try to address declining ratings to the ABC telecast (in the Academy's words "improvements needed to keep the Oscars and our Academy relevant in a changing world"), the Motion Picture Academy announced a new category for new category for "outstanding achievement in popular film". The ceremony will also be shortened in length and will take place on an earlier date, effective in 2020. It's a separate category from the Best Picture trophy, although the Hollywood Reporter reports that films will likely be able to compete for both prizes. Details on eligibility have yet to be announced.
Ironically, the Academy will look like it had a great idea here next Oscarcast, but a lot of that will be if the billion-dollar ceiling-shattering zeitgeist Marvel movie Black Panther gets nominations, especially if the film is in the mix for Best Picture.
CNN's Frank Pallotta pointed out that several past blockbusters have been best picture nominees and winners, accompanying his tweet with a chart of high-grossing films like "Gone With the Wind", "Star Wars", and "Jaws", that garnered Academy recognition.
Moreover, there's been widespread support for the Academy adding a category for Best Stunts or Best Casting for years, and this is the category they decide to add? In order to accomplish this, not all of the categories will be presented live.
The board of governors announced the changes in a letter to academy members after the board's Tuesday meeting.
As for the other announcements today, the Academy also confirmed that the telecast would be cut down to three hours (phew), though this will result in some categories (presumably the shorts and crafts awards) being doled out during commercials and edited into a montage to be aired later in the show. Eligibility requirements and other key details will be forthcoming.
This change passed the voting process, which signifies how important it is to make the Oscars broadcast more appealing to a wider range of viewers.
The 91st Oscars telecast will air 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", Hudson and Bailey wrote.