The Oscars to introduce a new award for popularity

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Keep diversifying the Academy to dilute the number of members operating under archaic notions of what an Oscar movie might look like.

In a statement, the organization revealed the addition of a new category that is being designed around "outstanding achievement in popular film", promising more details and eligibility requirements to come.

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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.

The Academy has also announced future televised ceremonies will be limited to 3 hours, again with an eye to making the telecast more palpable to larger audiences. The new category will be called the Outstanding Achievement in Popular Film and was announced by Academy President John Bailey and Academy CEO Dawn Hudson in a letter (via THR).

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The category will nearly certainly see acclaimed box office hits such as Black Panther, Avengers: Infinity War and Mission Impossible: Fallout nominated, and if AMPAS truly wants to open things up to the public, an online vote for the final victor wouldn't be remotely surprising. This creates ratings woes for the Academy, to be sure, but it's also generated an outcry from genre fans and critics, who argue that legitimately great artistic achievements in blockbuster and genre-heavy films are often overlooked, with a few exceptions like The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King and this year's big victor, The Shape of Water.

Reaction to the announcement was mixed, with many calling the "popular film" award a cheapening of the Oscars, while others lamented over the lack of recognition for stunt performers, voice actors, and motion-capture performers. Specific categories will be determined at a later date, but the winning moments will be edited and aired in a later broadcast. The 2019 ceremony will still air February 24. The 2019 ceremony will still air on February 24, while the 2020 show will move to February 9. In some respects, this feels like a cynical attempt by the Academy to create an Also-Ran category that will appease moviegoers who, for example, saw Black Panther but couldn't find (or weren't interested in) a theater that was screening a festival darling like The Miseducation of Cameron Post, as well as appease genre fans who just want to see a Marvel movie take an award outside of the technical categories.

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