The Academy’s board has voted to add a new category to honor “popular film,” marking the first time in nearly two decades that a category has been added to the award slate.
The news was announced in a statement to voters on Wednesday morning. “We will create a new category for outstanding achievement in popular film. Eligibility requirements and other key details will be forthcoming,” they wrote.
The addition of a Popular Film category is surely an attempt to make the award show a more appealing event to casual moviegoers who don’t necessarily care about anything outside of blockbusters.
The last time a category was added was in 2001 when the Oscars added Best Animated Feature.
In another attempt at appealing to viewers, the Academy also said that they voted to limit the Oscar telecast to three hours. In addition, some winners will now be announced during commercial breaks, then edited for airing later in the broadcast, something the Grammys has already been doing. In the past, the Oscars have typically run well over three hours long. In 2002 it ran for over four hours.
Next year’s Oscars will take place Sunday, February 24, 2019. It is not clear at this time if the Popular Film category will be added in time for 2019, but if so, we’re expecting Star Wars, Marvel, and DC films will be in contention.