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Oscars Cut Show Length, But Not Political Speeches, in Bid to Woo Viewers

Craig Bannister
By Craig Bannister | August 8, 2018 | 3:10 PM EDT

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In response to suffering its least-watched Oscars broadcast ever this year, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is making changes.

As reported by Variety on Wednesday, the major changes made by the Academy at Tuesday night’s board of governors meeting are:

  1. A new category for outstanding achievement in popular film.
  2. A broadcast with a fixed length of three hours, and
  3. The presentation of less-popular categories off-air during commercial breaks, and
  4. Edited clips of the off-air presentations aired later in the broadcast.

This year’s awards show ran nearly four hours long and was the least-watched Oscars to date (26.5 million viewers, down 19%).

The new category is a move designed to appease film fans who have seen the most-popular box office hits snubbed in favor of movies the Hollywood industry prefers. To compete with the proliferation of competing entertainment awards shows, the Academy will move the Oscars broadcast’s air date from February 23 to February 9, beginning in 2020.

The set, three-hour limit will allow less time for the types of political speeches that have plagued viewers, but Variety makes no mention of any interest by the Academy to clamp down on such non-entertainment pontifications.


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