John Bailey, the newly re-elected president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and film Academy CEO Dawn Hudson said in an email to members Wednesday morning that the Board of Governors met Tuesday night to approve the changes.
Details and eligibility requirements of the new category, which will honour "outstanding achievement in popular film", will be forthcoming. Starting next year, the ceremony will now be shown in what the Academy describes as "a more globally accessible, three-hour telecast". That same year, the Academy also reinstated a "preferential ballot" for Best Picture voting that allows members to rank films according to preference in that category, rather than simply picking one victor.
It is unclear, however, whether the change will come into effect in time for the next Oscars ceremony in February.
The airdate has been bumped up just for the 2020 telecast ― from February 23 to February 9 for 2020.
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.
Oil's near $69 as trade conflict counters latest supply risks
US sanctions on Iran's energy sector are set to be re-imposed after a 180-day "wind-down period" ending on November 4. A trade spat between the U.S. and China has kept oil from rebounding from a seven per cent plunge last month.
Finally, awards season will shrink by a few weeks: the 2020 Oscars will be handed out on February 9.
To accommodate a three-hour ceremony, the Academy will present select categories live in the Dolby Theatre and during commercial breaks. 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 Board of Governors took this charge seriously.
Best Achievement In Popular Film. The dirty (not so) secret of the Academy Awards is that they've never really been a benchmark of excellence to begin with.
"Oscars designating a new award for "popular movies" just reiterates to its entire voting body and the world the inane conception that genre movies aren't as good as dramatic! independent! films!" wrote Polygon's Julia Alexander.