The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced plans on Wednesday to create a new category at the Oscars — for “outstanding achievement in popular film.”
John Bailey, the Academy president, and Dawn Hudson, the CEO, wrote a letter to Academy members unveiling changes to the ceremony that were decided on by the Board of Governors, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
The new popular film category may be an effort to boost ratings, which hit an all-time low of 26.5 million viewers in March. The letter said that “eligibility requirements and other key details will be forthcoming” for the category.
The letter also announced two other changes to the Oscars’ format: To keep the broadcast to three hours, some not-yet-announced categories will be presented during commercials. The letter explained, “The winning moments will then be edited and aired later in the broadcast.”
Finally, the Academy will hold the 2020 Oscars earlier than planned — on February 9 rather than February 23. The 2019 Oscars will take place on February 24.
Bailey and Hudson described these decisions as “improvements needed to keep the Oscars and our Academy relevant in a changing world.”
In June, the Academy invited a wave of 928 new members, including Timothée Chalamet, Tiffany Haddish, Amy Schumer, Gina Rodriguez, Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon, Daniel Kaluuya, Blake Lively, Rashida Jones, and Jada Pinkett Smith.