Turn out all it took was widespread condemnation of the plan to present four Oscars in the commercial breaks for the academy to blink and reverse course. The academy announced on Friday (Feb. 15) that all 24 competitive categories will be presented live on the Academy Awards next Sunday (Feb. 24).
A terse statement issued on behalf of the officers of the board reads as follows: “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. All Academy Awards will be presented without edits, in our traditional format.”
This move comes in response to the criticism levelled at the academy board of governors by many prominent filmmakers including a slew of Oscar winners (Damien Chazelle, Guillermo del Toro, Ang Lee, Quentin Tarantino) and both the American Society of Cinematographers and American Cinema Editors. The plan had been to present these four Oscars during the commercial breaks and then drop edited versions of the acceptance speeches into the telecast later in the evening.
SEE 2019 Oscars predictions by experts: 7 of the 8 Best Picture nominees will win at the 91st Academy Awards
This has worked well enough for the Tony Awards over the past few years. Prior to that, Broadway’s biggest honor had handed out its below-the-line awards in a separate ceremony that aired on PBS rather than on the main CBS telecast.
The amount of time saved with this plan would have been minimal, perhaps totalling eight minutes. To move the awards along in a more time efficient manner, all the producers need to do is set aside seats in the front rows at the far sides of the Dolby Theater for nominees in the category about to be presented. This would eliminate the long walk/run/sprint that the likes of the Best Sound Mixing winners usually have to make from the back of the auditorium.
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