A few changes to future Oscars telecasts have been announced on Wednesday by The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. The 2020 ceremony will be bumped up two weeks to February 9; and, the televised ceremony will be limited to three hours only. Also, a new category is announced that will recognize 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,” read an email sent to Academy members by President John Bailey and CEO Dawn Hudson. “The Board of Governors took this charge seriously.”
The board reelected Bailey in a meeting held late on Tuesday; these changes were also regulated then.
In recent years, the Academy Awards have continuously suffered from low ratings. This year’s telecast, hosted by Jimmy Kemmel, which was almost four-hour long, dropped to an all-time low of 19 percent from the previous year to just 26.5 million viewers, according to the Hollywood Reporter. Bailey and Hudson wrote in the email that shortened telecasts aim to deliver “a more accessible Oscars for our viewers worldwide.” Certain categories – that are yet to be announced, will be presented during commercial breaks. Presumably, these categories would honor technical achievements.
Eligibility criteria for the new category have not been publicized yet; however, several critics have accused the academy of pandering and lessening the stature of the best picture category.
Atlantic staff writer David Sims said that the new category sounds “both incredibly vague and incredibly lame, but refusing to broadcast technical awards is much much worse and more depressing.” He also called the changes “an embarrassing disaster.”