The Academy Awards are going to change a few things after a number of unimpressive years in TV ratings and audience feedback, while also critical dissatisfaction with the films chosen and awarded.
First change to be made is regards to the length of the Oscar telecast which is already long at over 3 hours, but when you are honoring so many nominees in so many categories it kind of makes sense. Also, cutting out categories such as makeup from the prime time event to a shorter edited cut may not be the end of world, even though for some they are still important enough categories that without them some films like 'Darkest Hour,' 'Lord of Rings' amongst others wouldn't be possible.
The second change maybe their most radical which is the cheap the addition of a popular film category similar to the MTV movie awards. This takes the Oscars from that high on the mountain top of fake glamour and art to the pit of anything will do for more money. This will have gross complications with what can be defined as popular and when and to whom, while also categories such as animation becoming insignificant for obvious reasons.
Final change is to the telecast date with the awards being two weeks earlier than usual. This may seem like the most inconsequential of the three, but indeed does have consequences tied to it. Such as competing awards shows and their importance, while also films build up and promotion leading up to the Oscars.
These changes most likely will be frivolous to getting the Oscars their ratings back as they are other factors at play for their decline, but it seems unfortunately that the Academy isn't paying mind to the real criticism that has been layed at their feet and trying any other way to save their skin and importance in the online streaming and digital world.
Below is the full announcement text of the Academy's message to its members regarding these changes:
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Last night, the Board of Governors met to elect new board officers, and discuss and approve significant changes to the Oscars telecast.
The Board of Governors, staff, Academy members, and various working groups spent the last several months discussing improvements to the show.
Tonight, the Board approved three key changes:
1. A three-hour Oscars telecast
We are committed to producing an entertaining show in three hours, delivering a more accessible Oscars for our viewers worldwide.
To honor all 24 award categories, we will present select categories live, in the Dolby Theatre, during commercial breaks (categories to be determined). The winning moments will then be edited and aired later in the broadcast.
2. New award category
We will create a new category for outstanding achievement in popular film. Eligibility requirements and other key details will be forthcoming.
3. Earlier airdate for 92nd Oscars
The date of the 92nd Oscars telecast will move to Sunday, February 9, 2020, from the previously announced February 23. The date change will not affect awards eligibility dates or the voting process.
The 91st Oscars telecast remains as announced on Sunday, February 24, 2019.
We have heard from many of you about improvements needed to keep the Oscars and our Academy relevant in a changing world. The Board of Governors took this charge seriously.
We are excited about these steps, and look forward to sharing more details with you.
John Bailey and Dawn Hudson
The Academy later issued an addendum:
While the details for a popular film category are still being finalized, a single film is eligible for an Oscar in both categories — Outstanding Achievement in Popular Film and the Academy Award for Best Picture. The new category will be introduced this coming year, at the 91st Oscars. In creating this award, the Board of Governors supports broad-based consideration of excellence in all films.