Heading into the 94th Academy Awards, Academy President David Rubin sent a letter about changes to the upcoming Oscars broadcast.
The following categories are will be presented an hour before and then have a delayed airing.
- Documentary Short
- Film Editing
- Makeup and Hairstyling
- Original Score
- Production Design
- Animated Short
- Live Action Short
The key takeaway is that eight categories will not be presented live. They will also be edited into the show in the hours to come. All the winners will still have their moment in the sun because the presentations will take place during the pre-show. If I’m a nominee, I would be pissed. Imagine having an opportunity to discuss projects on the red carpet or what it means to be nominated. That moment is gone. Instead, you’re having to rush inside the Dolby Theatre in hopes of hearing that you’ve won an Oscar. If I were nominated for a category not being dropped, I would skip out on the red carpet altogether to show solidarity with the other nominees. Bad move, Academy.
This isn’t the Academy’s first attempt to do so. They tried to do this back in 2019 but had to back off following the backlash. Back in September, I wrote about how they were looking to change it up again this year. Lo and behold, they are doing this again while also adding an Oscars Fan Favorite category! It was bullshit in 2019 and it’s bullshit again in 2022.
Listen, the Academy can do whatever they want in hopes of improving ratings but the audience is NOT coming back. How many times do we have to go over this?!? Dedicated movie lovers will certainly watch the show but other people will probably watch something else. I mean, the Academy is already having to compete with March Madness. The NCAA Tournament is back to normal scheduling, the games will take place in the afternoon and early evening. Any games going into overtime–and of course, the post-game show–will be competing for our attention. I’m already missing the selection show because of this year’s Critics Choice Awards!
Audiences are so fractured these days. What does it tell you when awards shows have to compete with new programming on HBO and other networks? Remember when nobody aired live programming opposite the Oscars? Those days are gone. Stop trying to change the broadcast in order to woo eyeballs because they aren’t coming. I feel like a broken record because nobody seems to listen.
Here is the letter that David Rubin sent out to both members and nominees (via Variety):
Dear Fellow Academy Members,
We’re excited to present a 94th Oscars broadcast that both honors the year’s achievements in motion pictures and provides boundless entertainment for our global audience of movie lovers. After carefully listening to feedback and suggestions from our film community, our network partner, and all those who love the Oscars, it was evident we needed to make some decisions about the broadcast that are in the best interest of the future of our show and our organization.
When deciding how to produce the Oscars, we recognize it’s a live event television show and we must prioritize the television audience to increase viewer engagement and keep the show vital, kinetic, and relevant. This has been an important focus of discussion for quite some time. We do this while also remembering the importance of having our nominees relish a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
In order to provide more time and opportunity for audience entertainment and engagement through comedy, musical numbers, film clip packages and movie tributes, a change in the show’s production will take place. This year’s show producers and Academy leadership with oversight of the Oscars have made the decision, with endorsement from the officers and the Awards Committee, that every awards category must be featured on the television broadcast, though eight awards will initially be presented in the Dolby Theatre in the hour before the live broadcast begins.
They will not be presented in the pre-show nor on the red carpet, as some have speculated. Instead, the in-person ceremony at the Dolby Theatre will begin one hour earlier to present eight awards categories before the live telecast starts. Those presentations will then be edited by our creative and production teams and will be folded seamlessly into the live televised show.
To be clear, all the nominees in ALL awards categories will be identified on air and ALL winners’ acceptance speeches will be featured on the live broadcast. Every awarded filmmaker and artist in every category will still have the celebratory ‘Oscar moment’ they deserve on the stage of the Dolby, facing an enrapt audience.
For the audience at home, the show’s flow does not change, though it will become tighter and more electric with this new cadence, and the live broadcast should end – yes, with the Best Picture category – at the three-hour mark.
This year, those categories presented in the evening’s first hour and seen later in the live broadcast are, alphabetically: Documentary (Short Subject), Film Editing, Makeup and Hairstyling, Music (Original Score), Production Design, Short Film (Animated), Short Film (Live Action), and Sound.
The categories to be presented live on this year’s broadcast are, alphabetically: Actor in a Leading Role, Actor in a Supporting Role, Actress in a Leading Role, Actress in a Supporting Role, Animated Feature Film, Best Picture, Cinematography, Costume Design, Directing, Documentary (Feature), International Feature Film, Music (Original Song), Visual Effects, Writing (Adapted Screenplay), and Writing (Original Screenplay).
We realize these kinds of changes can prompt concern about equity, and we ask you to understand our goal has been to find a balance in which nominees, winners, members, and viewing audience all have a rewarding show experience. Moving forward we will assess this change and will continue to look for additional ways to make our show more entertaining and more thrilling for all involved, inside the Dolby Theatre and watching from home.
Every Academy branch and award category is indispensable to the success of a film and vital to this industry. Both our challenge and our goal is to create an exciting, streamlined Oscars show without sacrificing the long-held fundamentals of our organization. We appreciate your understanding and will be grateful for your unwavering support.
The 94th Academy Awards will air live at 8 PM ET/5 PM PT on ABC.
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