Oscars add popular film category, sets earlier 2020 date

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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.

In a letter to its members sent this morning, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) listed three changes approved by its Board of Governors.

"We have heard from many of you about improvements needed to keep the Oscars and our Academy relevant in a changing world", Hudson and Bailey wrote.

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The Academy Board of Governors has yet to reveal more information about what kind of achievement will be recognized and what qualifies as a popular film, and the Academy did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

To accommodate a three-hour ceremony, the Academy will present select categories live in the Dolby Theatre and during commercial breaks.

Going forward, some awards will be presented during commercial breaks, with edited acceptance speeches broadcast later in the program.

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The 2019 ceremony will air February 24, while the 2020 ceremony will move to February 9.

Remember when Chris Rock Oscars hosted the Oscars in 2016 and he quizzed people on the street as to whether or not they'd seen the Academy Award-nominated movies from that year? Hosted by Jimmy Kimmel, the ceremony also clocked it at almost four hours, making it the longest show in over a decade. Bailey and Hudson said eligibility requirements will be determined at a later date. The next ceremony will be the 91st Academy Awards. After Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight was not included in the Best Picture category, the academy received backlash for snubbing the film. Inversely, it gives The Academy a "Popcorn Oscar" to pass out rather than considering those films for a more traditional award. The 2019 Oscars will proceed as planned on February 24.

All jokes aside, here's another thing that rubs this writer the wrong way about the new "Popular Film" category: it's inherently condescending toward whatever ends up winning that year.

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Best Achievement In Popular Film. This could be a double-edged sword for some popular movies, serving to ghettoize high-grossing films that might have gotten into Best Picture anyway. This is a very bad idea.

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