Backlash follows the addition of popular film Oscar category

Oscar statue appears outside the Dolby Theatre for the 87th Academy Awards in Los Angeles. The Oscars are adding a new category to honor popular films and promising a brisk 3-hour ceremony on a much earlier air

Starting next year, the ceremony will now be shown in what the Academy describes as "a more globally accessible, three-hour telecast".

It's all change at the Academy - for the 91st Oscars ceremony, the Powers That Be have made a decision to add a new "Popular Film" category to honor "outstanding achievements" in blockbuster and genre movies, which are so often maligned by Academy voters year in, year out. There are no other details available about the award yet, including eligibility information, but the change is part of a continued effort by the Academy to keep the Oscars "relevant in a changing world".

We'll address points 1 and 3 in a bit, but it's point 2 - the new category for popular film - that's getting people talking today.

Critics questioned whether a film like Black Panther would be relegated to the "popular" category only because it was a commercial success. They argue the change "will not affect awards eligibility dates or the voting process".

Could this new category focus on the epic draw of films like offerings from the Marvel Cinematic Universe or Star Wars movies? More often than not, the biggest films of the year are shut out from the main award categories, with the exception of the technical categories like makeup and special effects.

Superhero films such as Black Panther are among those which could now stand a much better chance of being recognised during awards season. The first big change is that they will dedicate themselves to making sure the show is done in three hours.

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The sale of the broadcast rights make up the majority of the Academy's revenue, meaning viewer figures are important, and they tend to be higher when more popular films are nominated in the major categories. This is a big move up for the Oscars 2020 airdate, as the 91st Academy Awards are scheduled to air on February 24, 2019, with nominations to be announced on January 22.

The Hollywood Reporter printed a message from the Academy to its members, outlining the new changes approved by the Board of Governors. When The Academy Awards began, they were held in May.

The legendarily lengthy Oscars telecast will also be shortened, which means certain awards will not be presented during the live broadcast - another major break with Academy Awards tradition.

We are excited about these steps, and look forward to sharing more details with you. And what criteria will be used to determine whether a film qualifies as "popular?"

As a outcome, the United Kingdom equivalent - the BAFTA Film Awards - are likely to take place earlier in the year from 2020.

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