When it comes to the Academy Awards, there’s always been a divide of sorts when it comes to the movies that end up being nominated and popular, blockbuster films. More often than not, the biggest films of the year are shut out from the main award categories, with the exception of the technical categories like makeup and special effects.
That divide reached a boiling point with the release of The Dark Knight in 2008, a movie that managed to hover the line between popular and Oscar-worthy. However, while the film earned Heath Ledger a posthumous award for his supporting role as the Joker, the film itself was left out of the Best Picture category. There was a loud enough call for the Academy to change things up and the following year would see a big change with the possibility of up to 10 nominees for Best Picture movies.
Now, it appears as if the Academy is changing things up once again. The Hollywood Reporter reports that, after the last few Oscars telecast dwindled in audience numbers — the 2018 broadcast reaching new lows with 26.5 million viewers — a large shakeup is coming, one that is meant to bring mainstream focus back on the prestigious awards show.
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The most important change to come is that the Academy will introduce a new award category meant to honor “outstanding achievement in popular film.” While the details of this new category have not been disclosed yet, it’s safe to assume that nominees will be films that managed to please not only critics, but audiences as well.
On top of that, in a bid to keep things interesting and moving, the 3-hour telecast will now only present select categories live, while other winners will be handed out 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.
As of now, it’s unclear if these changes will be in effect during this winter’s upcoming Oscars, or the 2020 telecast. However, if such massive changes are in order, it’s possible that the Academy is in a hurry to see if these modifications will have the intended effect of renewing interest in the prestigious awards show.
The Academy made the full announcement on Twitter:
Change is coming to the #Oscars. Here’s what you need to know:
– A new category is being designed around achievement in popular film.
– We’ve set an earlier airdate for 2020: mark your calendars for February 9.
– We’re planning a more globally accessible, three-hour telecast. pic.twitter.com/oKTwjV1Qv9
— The Academy (@TheAcademy) August 8, 2018
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The 91st Academy Awards ceremony will air February 24, 2019.