Big changes coming to Academy Awards

Oscars Oscar Academy Awards Placeholder

Oscars Oscar Academy Awards Placeholder

The Academy's new Oscars popular film category isn't so popular. 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 Academy's board of governors has approved several changes for next year's Oscars, and among them is the introduction of a new category. It also means that the film with the most first place votes doesn't always win Best Picture.

Although Oscars does award commercially successful films, it tends to exclude genre movies such or superhero films like Star Wars or, more recently, Black Panther. In addition, they are planning a more "globally accessible" three-hour telecast.

In a message to its members the Academy said eligibility requirements for the new category and other key details would be "forthcoming". The date change will not affect awards eligibility dates or the voting process.

The statement reads: "To honour all 24 award categories, we will present select categories live, in the Dolby Theatre, during commercial breaks (categories to be determined)".

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The 91st Academy Awards ceremony will air February 24, 2019. However, these winners will still be televised later in the broadcast, in the form of montage videos that will air later in the evening.

The move quite clearly seems to be an effort to reinvigorate interest in the Oscars with the show's TV ratings declining severely in recent years, the hope being that seeing more blockbuster titles in the awards show might prompt more casual audiences to tune in. The Board of Governors took this charge seriously.

Furthermore, "popular" and "Oscar-worthy" are not mutually exclusive - even based on Academy precedent, with profitable titles like Avatar, Titanic, and the entire original Lord of the Rings trilogy taking home multiple Academy Awards.

We are excited about these steps, and look forward to sharing more details with you. And that's saying a lot since you awarded Best Picture to Crash.

Popular film? What is this?

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