The Oscars are changing it up for their 91st ceremony next year in order to gain some higher ratings. According to Variety, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences group president John Bailey and its CEO Dawn Hudson said the broadcast will now include a new category for outstanding achievement in popular film.
“We have heard from many of you about improvements needed to keep the Oscars and our Academy relevant in a changing world,” Bailey and Hudson wrote in a note to members. “The Board of Governors took this charge seriously.”
There was once a time where big blockbusters like Titanic and Lord of the Rings took home the golden statues, but nowadays it is the independent dramas that are reaping the awards. It could be because of this that lately, the television ratings for the biggest award show have plummeted.
According to Variety, “the 2018 awards show, which clocked in at almost four hours, was the least-watched Oscars to date. Though it pulled in 26.5 million viewers, the ratings were down 19 percent compared to the previous year.”
The Popular film category (most likely called the “Popcorn Award” as per The Hollywood Reporter) will possibly highlight such big blockbusters like Avengers: Infinity War and Black Panther. “We will create a new category for outstanding achievement in popular film. Eligibility requirements and other key details will be forthcoming,” the CEO and president wrote in their announcement.
Because of this, they have also decided to not televise all of the awards and shorten the broadcast to three hours. To accommodate a three-hour ceremony, select categories will be presented during commercial breaks and the winning moments will be edited and shown later during the telecast.
“If I can take this moment to thank [my mother] Helga B. for not letting me ride in cars with boys till I was eighteen, 'cause she was right; I would've done what she said I was gonna do. For making me practice every day when I got home, piano, ballet, whatever it is I wanted to be. She said to be an artist you had to practice every day.” -Sandra Bullock, accepting her Oscar for Best Actress for her role in “The Blind Side” in 2010
They have also decided to change the date of the 92nd Oscars. While the 91st Oscars is still set to air on February 24, 2019, the 92nd will be moved up to February 4, 2020. Some would say the move is because the Oscars have become anti-climactic since they’re usually the final award show of the season and most people aren’t surprised by the outcome. An earlier date may switch things up and make for more surprises.
Bailey and Hudson ended their note by saying, “We are excited about these steps, and look forward to sharing more details with you,” according to The Hollywood Reporter.
This change has been endorsed by the Academy’s board of governors, which is a good sign. The improvements could make for a much more exciting award show.