The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences on Wednesday decided to usher in changes to the Academy Awards starting next year. The Boards of Governors, after re-electing John Bailey as the President, said in an email addressed to its members that it “will create a new category for outstanding achievement in popular film.”
In its bid to revamp the format, the Academy has also decided to keep the running time of the award show within a tight three hours. It plans to achieve this by handing out select awards during the commercial breaks. These categories will not be removed during the telecast, instead, the winning moments will be edited and aired later during the broadcast.
Change is coming to the #Oscars. Here's what you need to know:
– A new category is being designed around achievement in popular film.
– We've set an earlier airdate for 2020: mark your calendars for February 9.
– We're planning a more globally accessible, three-hour telecast. pic.twitter.com/oKTwjV1Qv9
— The Academy (@TheAcademy) August 8, 2018
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the Academy was forced to usher in changes after this year’s award ceremony saw an all-time low of 26.5 million viewers.
Meanwhile, several Hollywood production companies, through a letter, have agreed to come together to improve transgender representation in movies. According to a report published in the Variety, the move came in the wake of Scarlett Johansson’s exit from the movie Rub and Tug after her casting in the role of a trans-man led to a backlash from the LGBTQ community on social media.
Signatories included major talent agencies and production houses like Ava DuVernay’s Array Alliance, J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot, and Norman Lear’s Act III. “We know projects like Ellen, Will & Grace, Brokeback Mountain, Milk, and Moonlight helped to break down stereotypes about gay and lesbian people, and the timeline for marriage equality would have been remarkably different without them. Women, people of colour, people with disabilities, and diverse faith groups have made it clear they want more authentic stories about their lives in films and on TV. Trans people feel the same way,” the letter read.
We teamed up with @5050by2020_ to create an open letter urging Hollywood to include trans talent in the creative process in front of and behind the camera. Over 45 production companies, agencies, and orgs joined us by signing it. #TRANSformHollywood https://t.co/PqA5XreBWP
— GLAAD (@glaad) August 7, 2018
Earlier this year, the Cannes Film Festival made waves by handing out awards to the Belgian drama Girl which spoke about a transgender teenager trapped in a man’s body wanting to be a ballerina. It won the director, Lukas Dhont, a Caméra d’Or for the best first feature, the Queer Palm for best LGBT-themed film and a gender-blind prize for its cisgender lead Victor Polster for the best performance in the Un Certain Regard section.