After taking criticism year after year for being both irrelevant and esoteric, this week The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences unveiled some major changes to the Oscars in an attempt to reconnect with the general public. The biggest of these changes is the addition of a new category for “outstanding achievement in popular film.” Clearly they want to give mainstream moviegoers something to root for, although this was the same reason that they expanded the Best Picture category from five to ten nominees back in 2009. Obviously that did not have the desired effect with last year’s nominees being the lowest grossing group in six years. But what constitutes a popular film? The rules are unclear although it seems likely to be based on box office numbers. Hit the jump for more info on the Oscar shake-up.
According to Variety, the other new changes include shortening the television broadcast to 3 hours and moving the air date up by a few weeks. The 2019 Oscars will still take place on Feb. 24th but the 2020 show will now be on Feb. 9th. This is supposedly to put the Oscars in closer proximity to the other major award ceremonies so that audiences aren’t feeling as much award season fatigue.
The shortened broadcast will be achieved partially by presenting certain awards during the commercial breaks, which is sure to rub many people the wrong way. With last year’s show running nearly four hours and resulting in the lowest ratings to date, I suppose it was to be expected. But now it seems like the Academy is going to annoy industry folks and hardcore cinephiles in an attempt to make the show accessible again, which may be a futile effort anyway. What do you think of the latest changes to the Oscars?