The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has announced that eight categories will not be presented as part of the live broadcast of this year’s Academy Awards.
The Hollywood Reporter is stating that the categories – documentary short, film editing, makeup/hairstyling, original score, production design, animated short, live action short and sound – will be presented an hour before the live broadcast with the results being edited down and then inserted into the actual broadcast.
The Academy briefly floated the idea of doing this months ahead of the 91st Academy Award in 2018, but backlash form Academy members quickly had it withdrawn.
While the Academy Awards show has been facing declining ratings over the years, it is still the most widely watched live non-sports event o television every year. The Academy has looked at ways to win some viewers back resulting in recent change to the awards show such as expanding the Best Picture category from five to ten nominees.
But here is the thing – The people who weren’t watching the Academy Awards aren’t likely to come back because they won’t have to sit through categories like Best Sound or Score. However, the people who do tune in are most likely wanting to actually see these categories. This move feels like it is just alienating the wrong group of people in a move that will never win over others. It’s a complete lose-lose situation.
And that isn’t even addressing the disrespect that this throws at entire branches of the Academy. By paring down the presentation, and more importantly the winners’ acceptance speeches, the ones who do win are most likely going to be robbed of the opportunity to not only thank their peers for the honor, but to acknowledge those who helped them along the path that ended with them on stage at the Dolby Theater.
But the most damning thing about this proposal is how people will compare what was cut to what does make the live broadcast. There most likely will be some attempt to create some sort of viral event designed to generate some buzz around the ceremony in the hours and days following. Remember the embarrassing segment at last year’s Oscars where they got Glenn Close to twerk? If there is something equally as cringe worthy this year, the Academy is just asking viewers to ask themselves, “They cut actual awards presentations for this?”
The 94th Oscars telecast airs on March 27.