In a move likely determined in huge part by slumping ratings, and the speedily changing film industry, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has made a few changes for upcoming Oscars telecasts.

Most notably is the addition of the "Achievement in Popular Film" category – with the actual criteria and category definition still nebulous and not nailed down. Nevertheless, reactions to this were not exactly glowing, with more than a few celebrities viewing it as a sell-out move.

The Academy has also decided to limit its annual telecast to three hours (last year's ceremony clocked in at roughly four). This means below the line awards like editing or costume design will not be presented live, and instead presented during commercial breaks and then edited down to play later. This is a technique that the Tony Awards have used to save time and has also been recommended every year for at least the past ten by major producers of the live Oscars ceremony.

Deadline included the email sent by Academy brass John Bailey and Dawn Hudson to Academy voters in its coverage. We have reproduced it in its entirety below:

"Dear Member,

Last night, the Board of Governors met to elect new board officers, and discuss and approve significant changes to the Oscars telecast.

The Board of Governors, staff, Academy members, and various working groups spent the last several months discussing improvements to the show.

Tonight, the Board approved three key changes:

  1. A three-hour Oscars telecast

We are committed to producing an entertaining show in three hours, delivering a more accessible Oscars for our viewers worldwide.

To honor all 24 award categories, we will present select categories live, in the Dolby Theatre, during commercial breaks (categories to be determined). The winning moments will then be edited and aired later in the broadcast.

  1. New award category

We will create a new category for outstanding achievement in popular film. Eligibility requirements and other key details will be forthcoming.

  1. Earlier airdate for 92nd Oscars

The date of the 92nd Oscars telecast will move to Sunday, February 9, 2020, from the previously announced February 23. The date change will not affect awards eligibility dates or the voting process.

The 91st Oscars telecast remains as announced on Sunday, February 24, 2019.

We have heard from many of you about improvements needed to keep the Oscars and our Academy relevant in a changing world. The Board of Governors took this charge seriously.

We are excited about these steps, and look forward to sharing more details with you.

John Bailey and Dawn Hudson"