LOS ANGELES – The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced on Wednesday a series of changes to the Oscar ceremony, including an award for popular film and the announcement of the winners of certain categories during commercial breaks.
The Academy, whose Board of Governors met Tuesday night, re-elected John Bailey to a second term as its president and approved a series of “significant changes” to the Oscars telecast, which has been facing steadily declining ratings.
To counter the ratings crisis, the organization – whose members have been discussing the situation over the past few months – decided in favor of having a maximum duration of three hours for the show.
“We are committed to producing an entertaining show in three hours, delivering a more accessible Oscars for our viewers worldwide.” the Academy said in a letter to its members.
To ensure that the show will not surpass the allotted three hours, the Academy decided that winners of certain categories will be announced during commercial breaks.
The most significant change, however, is the addition of a new category for outstanding achievement in popular film, whose eligibility requirements and other key details “will be forthcoming.”
The Academy earlier expanded the number of movies contending for Best Film from the traditional five to 10, following the much-criticized absence of “The Dark Night” among nominees in 2009.