New Oscars to recapture viewers

Central Station | 10 Aug 2018

Organizers of the Oscars - under fire for plummeting ratings and accused of elitism - have created a new category to honor top blockbusters and said they will shorten the ceremony to attract more viewers.

"Change is coming to the Oscars," tweeted the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which has traditionally put together the awards gala each year in late February or early March.

The 90th Oscars on March 4 lasted nearly four hours and posted low TV ratings with 26.5 million viewers.

For 2019, organizers are hoping to produce a three-hour show by presenting some of the awards during commercial breaks, Academy president John Bailey and chief executive Dawn Hudson told members.

They will also create a new award for "outstanding achievement in popular film" - a response to accusations that for the past decade or more, the academy has honored art-house fare only seen by limited audiences.

The final reform will be to hold the ceremony earlier in the year.

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