I’d imagine that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences would love if they could just erase our collective memories of the past few months. The road to the 91st Academy Awards have been filled with controversy and poor decisions. First there was the creation of the Best Popular Film category which would reward the most popular films of the year, but the Academy quickly pulled it after the negative reception. Then, they selected Kevin Hart (JUMANJI: WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE) to host the ceremony, but almost immediately, there was further controversy when Hart’s past homophobic jokes and comments were brought to light and the actor stepped down just days later. The Academy then decided to move forward without a host for the first time in thirty years.
The latest controversy arose when they announced that the categories of Best Cinematography, Best Film Editing, Best Live Action Short Film, and Best Makeup and Hairstyling would take place during the commercial breaks of the ceremony. The four categories would be edited into a package to be aired later in the telecast and would also be streamed online via Oscar.com, and Academy president John Bailey said that the executive committees of six branches “generously” consented to having their awards presented in this manner. Naturally, this didn’t sit well with many in the industry and despite trying to clarify their choice, Deadline has now reported that the Academy has reversed their decision and will now award all winners during the live telecast after all. Good lord. Although the Academy’s membership voted and approved this decision last August, they obviously weren’t anticipating the degree of backlash which it would receive. According to Variety, the choice to reverse the decision came about last night following a meeting with top cinematographers, and Academy President John Bailey and CEO Dawn Hudson have promised to air every category live during the ceremony. A statement from the Academy reads:
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. We look forward to Oscar Sunday, February 24.
I’d like to think that this will be the last misstep which the Academy makes, but as there’s still a little over a week to go until the show, I’m not about to hold my breath. I’d imagine that our own Editor-in-Chief Paul Shirey will have plenty to say about the matter during his always entertaining alcohol-fueled live-tweeting of the 91st Academy Awards ceremony which will be held on February 24th.