London, The film Academy has announced a

number of changes to the Oscars, including the introduction of a new


From next year, there will be an award for outstanding

achievement in popular film, the first time a new Oscar has been

introduced since best animated film in 2001. Details on eligibility have

yet to be announced.

In a letter sent to members, the Academy also announced that the

telecast would now be kept to under three hours, which means that

some of the 24 categories will be announced during commercial breaks

and then edited into the ceremony later on. This year’s ceremony,

which saw The Shape of Water take the top prize, ran to just under

four hours.

We are committed to producing an entertaining show in three hours,

delivering a more accessible Oscars for our viewers worldwide, the

letter reads.

The moves are seen as new ways for the Oscars to appeal to a

wider audience. This year’s ceremony saw the lowest US viewership in

history and the contending films were mainly lower budgeted fare with

solid box office returns.

In 2009, the best picture race was opened up from five to a

possible 10 nominees, seen as a way of bringing in bigger

blockbusters. Since then, Avatar, Inception, The Martian, Gravity and

Toy Story 3 have all received nominations.

While details of the popular film category are yet to be

announced, it could be a way for superhero films to finally break

through, with the acclaimed box office hit Black Panther possibly

making an appearance. In a later addendum, the Academy clarified

that a film could be eligible for both the popular film and the best

picture Oscar.

The most recent induction of new Academy members was also

seen as a way of broadening the institution with its most diverse set to

date, including Amy Schumer, Daniel Kaluuya and Tiffany Haddish.

The industry professionals included in the latest batch of invitees were

49% female and 38% people of color.

Next year’s Oscars will take place on 23 February with early

favorites including Bradley Cooper’s remake of A Star is Born, Barry

Jenkins’ Moonlight follow-up If Beale Street Could Talk and the La La

Land director Damien Chazelle’s Neil Armstrong drama First Man, the

British Guardian newspaper reported.

Source: Oman News Agency