The Academy announced a number of changes Wednesday to the annual Oscars as part of a number of adjustments to the broadcast, which had its lowest-rated telecast on record last year.
The biggest change to the Academy Awards comes in the addition of a new category that is being designed around achievement in a popular film. The Academy also plans to set an earlier air date for the Oscars in 2020 — February 9 — and will be making that broadcast more “globally accessible.” It will also be capped at three hours long, after some broadcasts have gone on up to four hours.
Going forward, some awards will be presented during commercial breaks, with edited acceptance speeches broadcast later in the program.
The popular film category’s eligibility requirements have yet to be determined, but many speculate that it will be comparable to a “People’s Choice” award, and will give movies that might not otherwise be nominated for an Oscar a presence at the ceremony. Inversely, it gives The Academy a “Popcorn Oscar” to pass out rather than considering those films for a more traditional award.
The next Oscars broadcast will be as announced, Feb. 24, 2019. The earlier date will begin with the 92nd Oscars in 2020.