The Oscars are going to start giving out a 'popular film' award.

Posted: Aug 08, 2018 1:15 PM Updated:

Hollywood's big night is getting a reboot.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the group that puts on the Oscars, announced a slew of changes on Wednesday — including shortening the telecast to three hours and adding a category celebrating achievement in "popular film."

The shorter ceremony is an attempt at delivering "a more accessible Oscars for our viewers worldwide," the academy said in a letter to its members. It also might be an answer to criticisms that the ceremony has become increasingly bloated in recent years.

In what promises to be a controversial move, the academy said it will begin to "present select categories" during commercial breaks — a change that would likely mean the winners of behind-the-scenes technical categories will no longer give live, televised acceptance speeches.

"The winning moments will then be edited and aired later in the broadcast," the academy said.

The introduction of a new category — the first time the academy has done that since 2001, when it added an award for best animated feature — could also reshape the broadcast.

The popular film category is presumably intended to honor box-office smashes that often get left out of awards consideration, such as superhero flicks.

The eligibility requirements and "other key details" about the new category "will be forthcoming," the academy said. But the new award, potentially a bid to reverse slumping ratings and draw a wider audience, was already riling up cinephiles on Twitter:


The academy is also planning to move up the air date of the 2020 broadcast, pushing it from February 23 to February 9. (The next telecast will still air on the previously announced date: February 24, 2019.)