The Oscars have made a historic announcement regarding the addition of a new category. In a statement from Academy president John Bailey and C.E.O. Dawn Hudson, it has been revealed that Outstanding Popular Film will be a new award at next year's ceremony, one of three changes to the show shared Wednesday. The ceremony will also be shortened in length and will take place on an earlier date, effective in 2020. 

The addition of Outstanding Popular Film is the first new category since 2001 when Best Animated Feature made its debut as part of the show. "Eligibility requirements and other key details will be forthcoming," reads the statement. Vanity Fair has speculated that the change could be in part due to the massive success of the Marvel film Black Panther this year. If this is true, it would be the second time in recent memory that the Academy has made changes based on the success of a major film. After Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight was not included in the Best Picture category, the academy received backlash for snubbing the film. The following year, the category was widened from five nominees to ten.

In order to fit all the awards into the new 3-hour timeslot, certain awards will be presented during commercial breaks. 

Read the full letter from The Academy 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