Less than a month after announcing a plethora of changes to the annual Oscars ceremony, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences said today that one of them, a controversial new Most Popular Film category, will now not be a part of the 2019 show as had been planned.
“The Academy recognized that implementing any new award nine months into the year creates challenges for films that have already been released,” said AMPAS on Thursday of the course change for the 91st Oscars, set for February 24, 2019. (Read the full statement below.)
The organization also promised to seek “additional input” and further discussion” on the new category. “We have made changes to the Oscars over the years—including this year—and we will continue to evolve while also respecting the incredible legacy of the last 90 years,” CEO Dawn Hudson said today in a clear attempt to mitigate the sudden walk-back.
So, with this tactical retreat raising the possibility that Black Panther will now be part of the traditional Best Picture slate in the increasingly ratings challenged ABC broadcast, the Academy also laid out additional milestone dates for the 92nd Oscars in 2020. On August 8, when dropping the news of the Most Popular Film category, AMPAS also said it was moving up the 92nd Oscars more than a week to February 9, 2020.
That move sent other awards-season staples like the guilds — including ceremonies from SAG-AFTRA, the PGA and DGA — scrambling to adjust their 2020 dates to accommodate the Academy’s move.
Here’s the Academy’s full statement today:
While remaining committed to celebrating a wide spectrum of movies, the Academy announced today that it will not present the new Oscars® category at the upcoming 91st awards. The Academy recognized that implementing any new award nine months into the year creates challenges for films that have already been released. The Board of Governors continues to be actively engaged in discussions, and will examine and seek additional input regarding this category.
“There has been a wide range of reactions to the introduction of a new award, and we recognize the need for further discussion with our members,” said Academy CEO Dawn Hudson. “We have made changes to the Oscars over the years—including this year—and we will continue to evolve while also respecting the incredible legacy of the last 90 years.”
Changes to the 91st Oscars (2019) include restructuring and shortening the length of the telecast to three hours. To honor all 24 award categories, six to eight categories will be presented live, in the Dolby Theatre®, during commercial breaks. The winning moments will then be edited and aired later in the broadcast. Selected categories will be rotated each year. The Academy will collaborate with the show producer(s) to select these categories.
The Board of Governors also voted to move up the date of the 92nd Oscars telecast to Sunday, February 9, 2020, from the previously announced February 23. The date change in the timeline will not affect awards eligibility dates or the voting process.
The key dates for the 2019 awards season are as follows:
Saturday, November 16, 2019 Governors Awards
Thursday, January 2, 2020 Nominations voting opens
Tuesday, January 7, 2020 Nominations voting closes
Monday, January 13, 2020 Oscar Nominations Announcement
Monday, January 27, 2020 Oscar Nominees Luncheon
Thursday, January 30, 2020 Finals voting opens
Tuesday, February 4, 2020 Finals voting closes
Sunday, February 9, 2020 92nd Oscars
Starting in 2020, the Scientific and Technical Awards will move to June, as the technologies honored do not represent achievements within a specific awards year.