There’s a new category coming to the Oscars, the Academy announced Wednesday.
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 ahead of its introduction at the Academy Awards next year. However, it was revealed that films are able to compete in both the “popular” category and traditional Best Picture category – meaning a movie like “Black Panther” can enter the race for both awards.
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. The following year, the Artistic category was dropped and the Outstanding Picture winner, “Wings”, was retroactively considered to be the night’s biggest winner.
The Academy last added a new category in 2001 for Best Animated Feature.
The Academy also announced a commitment to a firm three-hour telecast, as well as a move in ceremony date for the 92nd Oscars in 2020.
The new date moves up the awards — typically held on the last Sunday in February (or first Sunday in March when accommodating for the Winter Olympics) — to February 9, 2020. The Academy has shifted dates over the years, usually from March in the 1940s and 1980s and April in the 1960s and 1970s before settling in February in the mid-2000s. The date change will not affect awards eligibility dates or the voting process.
However, the three-hour telecast means select categories will not air live. The statement reads: “To honour all 24 award categories, we will present select categories live, in the Dolby Theatre, during commercial breaks (categories to be determined). The winning moments will then be edited and aired later in the broadcast.”
Reaction to the announcement was mostly negative, 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.