Longest Oscars In Hollywood History? Yawnfest Instead Of Usual Snorefest?

Join Nikki Finke at 5:30 PM PT for her annual Oscar Live-Snarking!

EXCLUSIVE: What is maybe the most anticipated Academy Awards in recent memory is also mutating into what could be one of the longest Oscars in Hollywood history. I can feel a yawnfest coming on already. Sources tells me that last week the show clocked in at 3 hours and 40 minutes. Then it was shortened. But now the telecast doesn’t even commence presenting the Best Picture Oscar until after 3 hours and 23 minutes. And that’s only if everything goes according to schedule – which it never does. The telecast’s opening number lasts a full 15 minutes in what is the prelude to the most music-filled Academy Awards ever. So this could easily become an Oscar ceremony lasting 4-plus hours. (The longest on record is 4 hours, 23 minutes in 2002.) That’s not good news for longtime Academy Awards broadcaster ABC whose research demonstrates that, after 11 PM East Coast Time, the network loses 100,000 people per minute. That could hurt ratings for Sunday’s show which contains more suspense than in recent years. At around $1.7 million to $1.8 million for a 30-second spot, the Disney-owned ABC has sold out its ad inventory at prices higher than the network has charged since 2008 when the economy started to tank.

I’m usually in the habit of proclaiming doom and gloom every time these marquee Hollywood awards celebrate the movie season. But not this time around. Because I don’t anticipate a snorefest. Rarely have so many of the 24 categories including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actress, Best Screenplays, and more been up for grabs. Is it Jennifer Lawrence or Jessica Chastain or the 85-year-old French star Emmanuelle Riva of Amour? Is it Steven Spielberg or Ang Lee or dark horse David O Russell? Is it Argo or Lincoln or shocker Silver Linings Playbook? Nobody knows for sure.

Another rarity is that moviegoers across North America and many markets overseas actually have seen tonight’s nominated films and performances. That’s because 6 of the 9 Best Picture contenders have grossed over $100 million domestically and a 7th is close. (By contrast, last year’s winner The Artist only grossed $44M all in, and 2009 victor The Hurt Locker just $17M.) Every major studio has product in contention. And independent studio The Weinstein Company has two solid grossing pics in the mix.

Given all this good news, the Academy Of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences is daring to hope that tonight’s show will be a rare ratings blowout. It’s possible. Last year’s telecast was up a slight 4% from 2011 and the second most watched Oscars in the past half decade with 39.3 million viewers. But one problem is that TV toon creator Seth MacFarlane isn’t a familiar face to American audiences. Though his global hit movie Ted is – and Universal is paying for the foul-mouthed teddy bear to appear alongside Mark Wahlberg. The Academy is trying on the telecast to promote popular pics barely nominated for Oscars. So 5 members of last summer’s mega-blockbuster Marvel’s The Avengers will present Oscars at the Dolby Theater tonight.

But the show’s producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron have many musicals on their resumes. Wjich is why they’ve planned a tribute to the movie musicals of the past decade, including their own Best Picture winner Chicago featuring an on-stage reunion of Catherine Zeta Jones, Renee Zellweger, Queen Latifah and Richard Gere. Jennifer Hudson will reprise Dreamgirls, and odds are big that Barbra Streisand will sing The Way We Were as a tribute to the late Marvin Hamlisch.

Grammy-winner Adele will be part of the James Bond special celebrating 50 years of the spy film franchise. I’ve learned it was impossible to get all the actors who played 007 together on one stage because of various behind-the-scenes fusses and feuds over the years. All in all there are so many performers scheduled that there’s a shortage of dressing rooms. And if even a few participants are a minute or two late hitting a mark, then this show’s length could wind up in the history books.

Here’s the rundown of tonight’s awards from Yair Raveh whose popular Israeli film blog cinemascope.co.il gets it right year after year:

5:45:09 PT
5:54:06 PT
5:56:18 PT
6:05:13 PT
6:07:43 PT
6:14:53 PT
6:17:14 PT
6:30:40 PT
6:32:59 PT
6:41:32 PT
6:48:07 PT
7:08:52 PT
7:14:17 PT
7:19:12 PT
7:31:00 PT
7:47:02 PT
7:56:45 PT
8:00:15 PT
8:08:13 PT
8:17:16 PT
8:22:42 PT
8:25:16 PT
8:32:33 PT
8:39:57 PT
8:46:29 PT
8:53:29 PT

  1. I have never understood why the oscars don’t start earlier– like at least 8p– then you would not get these constant complaints every year. The Grammys go for 3 and a half hours, the Emmys are about that. Who cares how long the awards show is– it’s hollywoods biggest night and this promises to be one of the best shows ever!

    1. Well one or two ok shows a year but by and large the shows and stories are less than they were 40 years ago. A few are outstanding but the standards have fallen drastically in story and acting. The actors almost all are pale imitations of the stars of the 40s and 50s. Overall Hollywood is fading away into dreck and politics is destroying the main fly over fan base. While they bring stars of yesteryear like Nicholson and what’s his name in to present to provide the gravitas that the whole assemblage lacks.

    2. Hey Jake, open your eyes. No one outside hollywood cares about this crap. It very well may be the longest show in history.. and most likely the least watched. We, outside of hollywood, have REAL problems to contend with..like the economy and joblessness and the systematic destruction of our constitution.. this garbage is of NO concern to REAL people.

      1. Geez Chris, so many problems yet you have time to comment on this subject? Enjoy life! People across the country do care bout this show and is normally the second most watched show of the year, so you open your eyes

        1. Umm, no we don’t!

          If there’s ONE thing that Hollyweird does well it is celebrating……themselves!

            I am SO SICK of all of these media award shows congratulating themselves OVER and OVER and OVER!

      2. Could not have said it any better, except to say Argo is just not that good and Carter still sucks, no how the Zinn loving Affleck makes him out to be.

      3. Right and everyone in Hollywood is rich, rolling in the dough, never out of work, and have no REAL problems. None of the below the line people have kids in school in the Valley, mortgages to pay, and all the other stuff that makes a REAL life. No recession here in L.A. where the cost of living is also higher than most cities. Right?


      4. Then why the hell are you wasting time reading Oscar news on Deadline-Hollywood when you could be tending to your economy, joblessness, and systematic destruction of your constitution? If this garbage is of no concern to real people, you must not be one of those real people.

      5. Speak for yourself…there are other ‘real people’ out there that enjoy films and this once year celebration of the film industry.

    3. The 9P EST LIVE start time is dictated by the three hour difference. A 6 PM hour start time in LA gives everyone a chance to get in makeup, hair and pre-pro just in the nick of time. I am familiar with the timezone impact from my years working in TV.

      1. It actually was moved to an 8:30 start time. The sags, the Emmys, the Grammys, the golden globes–they all start at 8.

    4. Boring!!
      Why anyone tunes in to watch the most pretentious people on earth pat themselves on the back is beyond me. And to watch that for 4 hours? Yeah right.
      If you DVR’d it, you could watch the entire meat of the show in less than 30 minutes, but there is so much fluff and unnecessary build up, plus commercials, you waste 240 minutes of your life watching 6 or 7 top awards being given out. (Seriously, aside from Picture, Director, supporting actor and actress, and best actor and actress, what else is there?).
      Hollywood is a joke.

      1. The people who work behind the scenes would disagree. Just because you don’t know what their job entails doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t be recognized for it.

        1. No one is saying that the hard-working people don’t deserve to be recognized for their dedication to their craft; however, the real question is does it warrant almost four hours of airtime on one of the big four networks — and, most people that don’t live in SoCal would answer a resounding “No.” I’m not saying that the work that goes on in the back shouldn’t be appreciated, but since most of those positions are highly skilled and, thus, rather esoteric by people most of the world has never heard of, it’s hard to get the public engaged in a race they don’t have a horse in. Then again, you’re probably of the ilk that thinks we should air on national television for employee of the month at Rock & Roll Ralphs — which might be more interesting than what the Oscars have become.

      2. You don’t have to watch it…tune out. Let other people enjoy it. If you don’t like it, stop complaining and do something else…

    5. Who would waste four hours on such nonsense? Especially when one factors the one hour of nonsense commercials. You can have Hollywood and all its liberal social agenda…I don’t get my values from Hollywood.

    6. Exactly so. Who cares about those muttonheads who turn off the TV at 11 p.m.? They’re not real fans. Bet they’d stay up for their stupid Superbowl, which I never watch at all. If the ceremony were 12 hours long, I might have to record some of it for later viewing, but would have watched every minute by the next day. It’s easy for a pro to get caught up in how many viewers ABC loses, but to the fan, it can’t be long enough!

      1. But the athletes don’t get involved in politics like Hollywood does. If they would keep their liberal agendas to themselves they might attract more viewers. I refuse to watch it for that fact alone.

      2. We shut of the TV 6 YRS. ago except an hour a week. All news off the internet, CNN, FOX, Drudge, German, Argentine, Pravda. BBC. Then sort the 20% truth from the 80% BS.

    7. I have never understood why they broadcast the Oscars. A big production celebrating superficial people and meaningless movies. Who cares?

    8. you’re kidding right?
      Who watches this show except for people in the industry and teenagers?
      I stopped watching when I got out of high school, same old stuff, drone, blah blah, drone, political statement, wardrobe malfunction, more blah blah, etc.
      I’ll be watching the Home and garden channel.

    9. I feel like I have already watched for 4 hours. Kristen Chenowith ( sorry if this is misspelled – I wasn’t interested enough to check her name for spelling) is absolutely gag-worthy! Between the squeaky voice, her insults to some of the stars and their escorts, and her constant bragging about how tiny she is, I am ready to lose it.

      My heavens, that girl really thinks she is something. What a horrible choice for a red carpet interviewer.

  2. Opening number will last 15 mintues plus a salute to the “James Bond” flicks, AND a tribute to movie musicals, yep a 4 hour yawnfest likely to happen tonight.

  3. Seth will probably kill. He may be filthy, but he is also funny (unlike, say Ricky Gervais at the Globes who was just vile.)

    1. Seth is great, but I also love “vile” Gervais. He could be viler, as far as I’m concerned. Let ‘er rip!

  4. Remember the last time the Oscars had a 15-minute opening number?

    “Good evening Mr. Archerd! It’s so exciting to be here tonight! I’m a little late though – can you tell me how to get into the theater?”

  5. It’s supreme stupidity to start the show at 8:30 EST they should start at 7:30 EST but the networks and the academy still don’t get this. People on the east coast don’t want to stay up until midnight to find out who won Best Picture. The west coast viewers won’t mind if it starts at 4:30 and this would be better for the people who attend the ceremony they’d get to eat dinner an hour earlier when the show is over.

    1. Sorry New Yerckers, but this show is of, by and for Hwd, and just this one time YOU don’t get a vote as to when it starts. Do you have any idea what the PCH traffic into town from Malibu is like on Oscar afternoon? Yikes! Everyone in the audience would have to start out at 11 in the morning to get there by 3PM — which doesn’t give style, hair and makeup a whole lot of time unless they’ve camped out overnight.

      Besides, no One wants to face the harsh sun of a late LA afternoon with all that stage paint and lacquer; all the cracks will show….

  6. Talk about the most useless boring event ever created. Who on earth cares about a pack of narcissists patting themselves on the back for producing mindless drivel.

    1. I think more people care about a pack of narcissists patting themselves on the back for producing mindless drivel than an anonymous message board troll on a showbiz blog.

  7. I for one am more interested in the walking dead! The oscars stopped being must watch tv long ago… I’d rather see the zombies of wd than the Hollywood zombies tonight! Lol

    1. AMEN! They are IDIOTS to choose this time slot.. they think these silly oscars will pull even ONE VIEWER from THE WALKING DEAD? HE** NO!

  8. Self-indulgent dreck. God Bless DVR! I want video of anyone who watches it commercial-free. Or frankly, watches it at all…

  9. It’s a production with some of the biggest egos in the world. A mutual admiration society of very talented people and I don’t mind enduring the length. Once a year is ok.

  10. I am going to DVR, the Oscars. I will be checking Deadline for Nicki’s snarks.

    I’ll be watching, The Walking Dead. No pun intended towards the Oscars.

  11. I stopped watching this garbage years ago. The shame is there are no stars anymore, plus there’s so many award shows these days-I’m sure designed to make these insecure employees of the studios feel special. Life is to short and sweet to waste 4 hours on an award show.

  12. Who cares? I gave up watching the beautiful people fawn over each other a long time ago. They got way too political, both internally and externally. And since they now fawn over Obama and support him financially, I don’t watch them or their movies! I have a great book to read tonight.

    1. Mary Sunshine: Well said! That goes for me, too. The politics are suffocating and obnoxious. No wonder half the people in the country have nothing good to say about (or patronize) Hollywood.

    2. I thought Obama didn’t like rich people.
      Hey commentators, I want to see some reporting on the costs of attire these liberals wear.

      1. Fuck do you care? Taxpayer dollars didn’t buy any of it. Take your doom and gloom somewhere else.

  13. Self-congratulations are best savored slowly. Excessive income, opulent lifestyle and saying whatever comes to mind that does not really require thoughtful consideration are simply insufficient gratitude for these artists.

  14. Four hours of crap – hypocritical freaks stroking each other for the crap they produce these days. There used to be a HOLLYWOOD, but now it’s FOLLYWOOD or I’ve heard of it renamed as WEIRDWOOD – either way they’re idiot actors. Hope it gets the lowest viewership rating ever in history.

  15. 4 hours or 5 hours doesn’t matter. This is the only awards show worth watching anymore and with Seth hosting its probably gonna be at least as hilarious as when Billy was hosting.

  16. Who cares about a clique of drugged, over-primped poseurs who get paid by soulless exploiters to act out fiction contrived by dysfunctional, emotionally bankrupt cripples?

    1. Hey–I resemble that remark! Wrote my first screenplay on a manual typewriter placed on a chair I’d scrounged from an alley. Chair I sat on–ditto! Great art is often born out of suffering.

  17. I love when Deadline gets linked to Drudge and the crazies swarm out of the woodwork to comment here. Don’t forget to use you caps lock.

    1. So this is ABC’s answer to The Walking Dead? Same thing, but a musical. Oh, gawd, another category, another tribute, another song and dance routine — they’re all around us, they keep coming!

    2. Drudge readers never cease to amaze, though I should say I’m not proud of my somewhat masochistic addiction to the site and its ensuing comment sections.

      It’s like passing a car crash, you want to look away but…

    1. The idiots running for the GOP presidential nominee spent over a year doing it. Let us in Hollywood have our one night.

  18. I quit watching the Oscars 20 years ago. It is always boring and self-serving with miserable entertainment. The creativity in Hollywood is severely lacking. I have been watching British productions of late and there is no comparison. Hollywood needs to wake up.

    1. Amazing cxomments. Idiots who claim they neither watch Oscar’s nor care for Hollywood films—-should take a moment to total UP the millions and millions of dollars spent by average film fans, to see Hollywood films—-and yet these same folks deny they see Hollywood “crap”.

  19. Who cares about these worthless, hyprocritical idiots. Talentles morons who pat themselves on the back every year. And the idiots who watch them. The same idiots who voted for socialism. I am with Stuball, waterboarded for 3.5 hour would be better.

    1. I will gently suggest that if you prefer being waterboarded to watching a TV show you should reconsider your definition of idiot.

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