The upcoming 91st Academy Awards have already generated a fair amount of controversy, most of it by their own making. In an effort to keep the ceremony down to a manageable level, there had been discussions that several Award categories could take place during commercial breaks, and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences confirmed today that that’s exactly what will be happening.
There will be four Oscar categories which will be presented during those commercial breaks, consisting of Best Cinematography, Best Film Editing, Best Live Action Short Film, and Best Makeup and Hairstyling. That’s a damn shame, particularly for those nominated for these awards this year. Academy president John Bailey informed members in a letter which said that the four delayed presentations will be edited into a package to be aired later in the telecast and will also be streamed online via Oscar.com. The executive committees of six branches “generously” consented to having their awards presented in this manner, from which they selected four. In future Academy Award ceremonies, between four to six different categories may be selected, but Best Cinematography, Best Film Editing, Best Live Action Short Film, and Best Makeup and Hairstyling will be exempted in 2020. Here’s the full letter from John Bailey:
Dear Fellow Academy Members,
After months of anticipation and much talk, I’d like to address a topic that’s close to me.
Viewing patterns for the Academy Awards are changing quickly in our current multi-media world, and our show must also evolve to successfully continue promoting motion pictures to a worldwide audience. This has been our core mission since we were established 91 years ago—and it is the same today.
As you may remember, last summer the Academy’s Board of Governors committed to airing a three-hour show. I want to reiterate however, that all 24 Academy Award-winning presentations will be included in the broadcast. We believe we have come up with a great way to do this, and keep the show to three hours.
While still honoring the achievements of all 24 awards on the Oscars, four categories—Cinematography, Film Editing, Live Action Short, and Makeup and Hairstyling – will be presented during commercial breaks, with their winning speeches aired later in the broadcast.
And, with the help of our partners at ABC, we also will stream these four award presentations online for our global fans to enjoy, live, along with our audience. Fans will be able to watch on Oscar.com and on the Academy’s social channels. The live stream is a first for our show, and will help further awareness and promotion of these award categories.
The executive committees of six branches generously opted-in to have their awards presented in this slightly edited timeframe for this year’s show, and we selected four. In future years, four to six different categories may be selected for rotation, in collaboration with the show producers. (This year’s categories will be exempted in 2020.)
The Academy Awards honors the year’s best films and filmmakers. It is an international show, filled with great emotion, and (we hope) stirring acceptance speeches. This year, in addition to performances of all five nominated songs, the show will feature Gustavo Dudamel and the Los Angeles Philharmonic playing during In Memoriam, as part of their own centennial celebration.
So, buckle up! We are committed to presenting a show which we all will be proud of.
I can’t imagine that anyone is happy with this decision, but I’ll be curious to see if the backlash is enough to keep this from being implemented in future ceremonies. The 91st Academy Awards ceremony will be held on February 24th.
What are your thoughts on these categories being shifted to the commercial breaks?