A popular film category is coming to the Oscars

Major changes for Academy Awards

LOS ANGELES -- The Oscars are adding a new category to honor popular films. Eligibility requirements for the popular film category will be announced later.

John Bailey, the newly re-elected president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, said in an email to members Wednesday morning that the Board of Governors met Tuesday night to approve the major change. He also said the Academy promises a brisk three-hour Oscars ceremony next year, and a much earlier air date in 2020.

The 2019 ceremony will air Feb. 24, while the 2020 ceremony will move to Feb. 9.

The Academy told people on Twitter to "mark your calendars."

Ratings for the 90th Academy Awards, this past March, fell to an all-time low of 26.5 million viewers -- down 19 percent from the previous year. It marked the first time the glitzy awards ceremony had fewer than 30 million viewers since 2008. It also clocked it at nearly four hours, making it the longest show in over a decade.

This year, Jimmy Kimmel hosted the show from Hollywood's Dolby Theatre, and it had a unique focus on women. Four actresses presented the top two acting categories, and three of Harvey Weinstein's sexual misconduct accusers -- Ashley Judd, Salma Hayek and Annabella Sciorra -- introduced a video about the #MeToo movement and inclusion in Hollywood.