Oscars to Trim Some Awards From Telecast, Add a ‘Popular Film’ Category

In 1929 at the first Oscars ceremony, the Academy awarded films in two separate categories - Outstanding Picture and Unique And Artistic Picture - both considered the top awards of the night.

The requirements aren't known just yet, though we assume it will be to integrate films that are more popular with the buying public rather than exclusively the critics.

Oscar viewership is often tied to the box-office muscle of the big nominees.

The category will nearly certainly see acclaimed box office hits such as Black Panther, Avengers: Infinity War and Mission Impossible: Fallout nominated, and if AMPAS truly wants to open things up to the public, an online vote for the final victor wouldn't be remotely surprising.

Black Panther is a bit different in that regard, as there was already hope that it would score some nominations on its own.

The Academy last added a new category in 2001 for Best Animated Feature. The Academy wants to turn that around understandably. In addition, the board voted to limit the length of its annual awards show to three hours.

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However, the three-hour telecast means select categories will not air live.

You can find the full letter below. But first: the Academy is serious about a three-hour telecast ("We are committed to producing an entertaining show in three hours, delivering a more accessible Oscars for our viewers worldwide"), and the date of the 92nd Oscars has been moved up, from February 23, 2020 to Feb. 9 (next year's Oscars will remain on Feb 24, 2019).

In order to fit in all 24 award categories, some will be presented during commercial breaks with the winning moments edited and aired later in the broadcast.

This is especially interesting as the Marvel Cinematic Universe has never won an Oscar - embarrassingly, despite Suicide Squad grabbing a Best Makeup and Hairstyling gong a year ago - but that could very well change with this new award category. "Eligibility requirements and other key details will be forthcoming". The date change will not affect awards eligibility dates or the voting process.

It is unclear, however, whether the change will come into effect in time for the next Oscars ceremony in February.

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