The Oscars will now officially award the most 'popular' film of the year

(Image credit: Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images)

This year's Oscars are getting shorter — and hopefully getting you to watch.

In a three-part series of changes unveiled Wednesday, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences said that it will shorten the televised part of its annual awards show and add a category for Outstanding Achievement in Popular Film. This is the first new category since Best Animated Feature was added in 2001, per Vanity Fair.

Academy President John Bailey and CEO Dawn Hudson rolled out all these new changes in a letter sent to members Wednesday, says The Hollywood Reporter. Just what "popular film" means is still a mystery, though the Academy's letter promises "eligibility requirements and other key details will be forthcoming."

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Even before the Oscars added this new 24th category, the televised February ceremony often ran long. The Academy is now strictly committed to a three-hour show, creating a "more accessible Oscars for our viewers nationwide," per the letter. Some categories will be awarded in-person during commercial breaks, then edited for TV audiences and broadcast later in the night. The 2019 awards will remain on their previously announced date of Feb. 24, but the show will move up to Feb. 9 in 2020, the letter also says.

The changes came after the Academy's board re-elected Bailey as president Tuesday, months after clearing him of a sexual harassment complaint, per Entertainment Weekly.

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Kathryn Krawczyk

Kathryn is a graduate of Syracuse University, with degrees in magazine journalism and information technology, along with hours to earn another degree after working at SU's independent paper The Daily Orange. She's currently recovering from a horse addiction while living in New York City, and likes to share her extremely dry sense of humor on Twitter.