Oscars to shorten run-time, add popular film category

Tanya Cunningham
August 8, 2018

The Academy's board of governors has also set an earlier date for the 2020 Oscars ceremony and will shorten the telecast to three hours in an attempt to make the ceremony "more accessible for our viewers worldwide".

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced Wednesday a few changes to future Oscars telecasts: The televised ceremony will be limited to three hours; the 2020 ceremony will be bumped up two weeks to February 9; and, to the disdain of many, a new category will recognize achievement in popular film.

The next year, the Academy expanded its Best Picture category to 10 nominees to try and recognize more "populist" films like The Dark Knight.

To honor all 24 award categories, we will present select categories live, in the Dolby Theatre, during commercial breaks (categories to be determined).

The film academy is also shifting the date for the 92nd Academy Awards to earlier in the year. For comparison, last year's ceremony aired in early March and the upcoming 2019 show is set for February 24.

The Academy has recently made much-lauded moves to diversify and expand its membership, which would theoretically lead to a corresponding diversification and expansion of the kind of films that get nominated for, and awarded, Oscars. The Hollywood Reporter reports that, after the last few Oscars telecast dwindled in audience numbers - the 2018 broadcast reaching new lows with 26.5 million viewers - a large shakeup is coming, one that is meant to bring mainstream focus back on the prestigious awards show. "Eligibility requirements and other key details will be forthcoming".

Best Achievement In Popular Film. What we do know, though, is that the Academy has just taken a major step in the direction of focusing more on blockbusters, which are often viewed as a kind of art form unto themselves.

Reaction to the announcement was mixed, with many calling the "popular film" award a cheapening of the Oscars, while others lamented over the lack of recognition for stunt performers, voice actors, and motion-capture performers. Period. There's no need to put a "popular film" label on it. Would they have been too popular for the official Best Picture category?

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