Bailey and Academy CEO Dawn Hudson have also announced the board agreed to limit the Oscars telecast to three hours, revealing some awards will now be handed out during commercial breaks, edited and shown towards the end of the broadcast to keep worldwide audiences engaged in the show.
Academy president John Bailey and chief executive officer Dawn Hudson announced the move yesterday, along with a package of reforms aimed at keeping the annual movie awards, which began in 1929, "relevant in a changing world".
The most controversial change is the introduction of a new award category titled "outstanding achievement in popular film". The Academy announced that they would reveal winners in smaller categories during commercial breaks.
The Oscars are adding a "popular film" category and shortening the broadcast to a maximum three hours in 2019.
But amusing (not really) enough, this decision wasn't even the most freaky one that the Oscars made, with their decision to include a brand new category called Achievement in Popular Film being their most perplexing and out-of-touch decision. "If a movie is truly great, then it should be eligible for Best Picture".
The Academy is still working out details like what qualifies as "popular".
Gregory Ellwood, the editor-at-large of The Playlist, noted that in the past decade there have been a significant number of $100 million-plus earners nominated for best picture, like "Gravity", "Dunkirk", "GASAt Out", "Toy Story 3", "The Help", and the "The Revenant", and some of which went on to win, like "Argo", "The King's Speech", and "Slumdog Millionaire".
An anonymous member of the Academy's film editing branch told The Hollywood Reporter that if, as expected, technical awards are dropped, it would be "demeaning" to those who work behind the scenes.
Many have taken to Twitter to criticize and express dismay over the Academy's decision to add the category in question, which some view as an excuse not to nominate critically acclaimed blockbusters such as Black Panther for Best Picture.
Making space for "popular" films essentially causes a disparity among mainstream and lesser-known cinema - which sends a message that while all films deserve critical merit and scrutiny, some are just more deserving of "better" merits than others.
Last year's show hit an all-time ratings low.