“Change is coming” – Oscars announce new category and ceremony shake-up

The planned changes follow the event suffering low viewing figures this year

The Oscars have announced a new category aiming to celebrate popular film, along with more changes for future ceremonies.

Earlier this year, it was reported that the 2018 Academy Awards were the least-watched in history. Viewing figures are said to have dropped 19 percent from 2017, with an average of 26.5 million tuning in. Last year saw an average of 32.9 million viewers.

Now, the Oscars have unveiled plans to shake-up the annual ceremony.


Changes include a new category “being designed around achievement in popular film” and “a more globally accessible, three-hour telecast”. In an attempt to condense the show, some lower-profile categories will be presented during ad breaks. Edited versions of these winning moments will air later in the show.

2020’s event –  the 92nd Academy Awards – has also been given an earlier airdate of February 9. The ceremony was originally scheduled for February 24.

The changes were put in place by the Academy’s Board of Governors on Tuesday evening (August 7) and were outlined in an email to Academy members earlier today (August 8). Check out the full email below.


Dear Member,

Last night, the Board of Governors met to elect new board officers, and discuss and approve significant changes to the Oscars telecast.

The Board of Governors, staff, Academy members, and various working groups spent the last several months discussing improvements to the show.

Tonight, the Board approved three key changes:

1. A three-hour Oscars telecast

We are committed to producing an entertaining show in three hours, delivering a more accessible Oscars for our viewers worldwide.

To honor 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.

2. New award category

We will create a new category for outstanding achievement in popular film. Eligibility requirements and other key details will be forthcoming.

3. Earlier airdate for 92nd Oscars

The date of the 92nd Oscars telecast will move to Sunday, February 9, 2020, from the previously announced February 23. The date change will not affect awards eligibility dates or the voting process.

The 91st Oscars telecast remains as announced on Sunday, February 24, 2019.

We have heard from many of you about improvements needed to keep the Oscars and our Academy relevant in a changing world. The Board of Governors took this charge seriously.

We are excited about these steps, and look forward to sharing more details with you.

John Bailey and Dawn Hudson


The big winners at this year’s Oscars included The Shape Of WaterGet Out‘s Jordan Peele, Gary Oldman and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri stars Frances McDormand and Sam Rockwell.