EXCLUSIVE, UPDATED with confirmation of Deadline scoop: The Motion Picture Academy has decided to reverse plans to award the four categories during commercial time — Cinematography, Editing, Make-Up and Hairstyling and Live Action Short — and the winners will be awarded during the live telecast. This become the latest in an Oscarcast that has been trying hard to bring the Academy Awards into the 21st century, but bucking up against an organization steeped in tradition.
“The Academy has heard the feedback from its membership regarding the Oscar presentation of four awards – Cinematography, Film Editing, Live Action Short, and Makeup and Hairstyling,” the
officers of the Academy’s board of governors said. “All Academy Awards will be presented without edits, in our traditional format. We look forward to Oscar Sunday, February 24.”
All of the branches had agreed to the rotating system that the Academy said it would institute, but when it came time to actually slight four important groups who have much to do with cinematic excellence, it became clear that the pushback and internal rancor wasn’t worth the prospect of cutting 45 minutes out of the Oscarcast and bringing it down to three hours.
There are still compromises that can be explored, even this late into the proceedings. Here is one, free of charge. I’ve heard that in past Oscarcasts, they recorded the amount of collective time that it took between a winner being announced, and that recipient or recipients collecting the obligatory hugs and kisses, and then weaving the way to the stage. Over the course of an entire show, 26 minutes were wasted, before a single word of an acceptance speech was made. Would it not be worth exploring putting all the nominees onstage, and then announcing the winner? It would provide a sharing moment of respect and even those who don’t win can congratulate the winner, who can give a quick speech and the whole lot whisked off stage as the Oscars heads into a commercial. That move need not be applied for the major acting categories and Best Director and Best Picture, but it would certainly shave time off the telecast.
The Academy’s attempt to make the show quicken its pace is not misplaced, but it will require changeability to find the right formula. Slighting the four categories clearly wasn’t the right plan.
Since the core readers of Deadline are mostly part of the industry, how about some suggestions to help the producers as they find a handle on an Oscarcast that preserves the tradition and recognizes the hard work of top of the food chain artists in their respective fields, while keeping the telecast moving along and building suspense in what in the last moments is wide open in many categories including Best Picture, a category that includes several blockbusters that, if sold right, should bring a rooting interest in fan-pleasing mainstream films that hasn’t really been there in recent Oscarcasts?