In changes to the awards ceremony announced Wednesday morning nearly certainly created to try to address declining ratings to the ABC telecast (in the Academy's words "improvements needed to keep the Oscars and our Academy relevant in a changing world"), the Motion Picture Academy announced a new category for new category for "outstanding achievement in popular film".
This is not the first time the AMPAS has altered their rules in an attempt to get more commercially popular films to the table at the Academy Awards.
Also, the 92nd Oscar ceremony in 2020 will air on the much earlier date of Sunday, February 9, presumably to battle complaints that the show's usual late-February or early-March date feels a little late. Hosted by Jimmy Kimmel, the ceremony also clocked it at almost four hours, making it the longest show in over a decade.
The statement added that "eligibility requirements and other key details will be forthcoming", though it's quite reasonable to expect that the award will require a minimum box office gross to ensure only truly populist movies make the cut.
In an effort to keep future ceremonies to three hours, the awards will be presented live and during commercial breaks. "The winning moments will then be edited and aired later in the broadcast".
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.
The airdate has been bumped up just for the 2020 telecast ― from February 23 to February 9 for 2020. What we do know, though, is that the Academy has just taken a major step in the direction of focusing more on blockbusters, which are often viewed as a kind of art form unto themselves.
Best Achievement In Popular Film. It wasn't specified whether it would be added for the 91st Academy Awards this February.
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.