The media and publicists won’t be shivering at dawn at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences headquarters when Oscar nominations are announced January 24. Instead, the Academy announced it will go straight to digital platforms and a satellite broadcast feed, bypassing reporters who traditionally gathered in its Goldwyn Theater for announcements in the early-morning hours, the group said Friday.
In a further change, past Oscar nominees, in pre-recorded videos, will intersperse wit and wisdom to the new nominees as they are named. Those will include Jennifer Hudson, Brie Larson, Jason Reitman, Emmanuel Lubezki and Ken Watanabe. The idea is to let the Academy members tell their own story, rather than relying on media interlocutors. The nominations will be live-streamed at 5:18 AM PT on the Oscars.org and Oscars.com websites.
Those who record videos won’t know who the nominees are in advance. And the nominations feeds will continue to be available in real time to broadcasters and others; so the change gives no new advantage to ABC, which has rights to the Oscar broadcast. Satellite coordinates and interview opportunities will be made available to the press shortly, the Academy said.
But the change clearly increases the Academy’s control over the proceedings, by going directly to viewers before the press can add its twist to the morning.
The nominations were closely monitored in 2015 as the acting categories, for a second consecutive year, included no black nominees. The shut-out triggered the #OscarsSoWhite online campaign, and led to a restructuring of Academy governance and membership procedures.
With films like Moonlight, Fences, Hidden Figures, Loving and Lion — all featuring non-white performers — in contention this year, a repeat of “all white” embarrassment seems unlikely. In any case, the new format will let the Academy frame the discussion about its nominees before others take their shot.
The early dawn drill was a trial for many reporters, who were herded into the Goldwyn before the broadcast announcement, and left to wrestle with the logistics of remote transmission. Assuming the digital feeds work — hitches are not uncommon — the new procedures should allow reporting from the comfort of home or office.
One person briefed on the process said the pre-recorded member presentations will be relatively short. In fact, this person said, the entire presentation is expected to be only a little longer than the announcement show in past years.
The Academy will continue to provide nominations trivia and statistics, including a count of nominations by film and by company, this person said.