This Year’s Oscars Is Changing How It Presents Some of its Awards
Despite being Hollywood’s most coveted awards ceremony, the Oscars have often attracted a lot of controversy. From award snubs to hosting scandals, each year brings with it some big shake-ups, and this year’s ceremony seems poised to change things even more. Per an exclusive with The Hollywood Reporter, the Academy has chosen to shift the way certain awards are presented during its 94th broadcast (which is scheduled for March 27). Eight categories will instead be awarded off the air at an earlier time and edited back into the live broadcast, an interesting move that could possibly determine how the Academy structures its ceremony in the future.
Many details regarding the changes were revealed in a letter from Academy President David Rubin. The awards for Documentary (Short Subject), Film Editing, Makeup and Hairstyling, Music (Original Score), Production Design, Short Film (Animated), Short Film (Live Action), and Sound will be presented at the Dolby Theater before the start of the live show and, in the Academy’s words, will be edited and then “folded seamlessly into the live broadcast.” All acceptance speeches will also be featured as part of the live airing, with the letter from Rubin stating that the aim is to keep this year’s ceremony “tighter and more electric.”
Back in 2018, the Academy was looking to cut four awards from the broadcast. Learning from their past mistakes, it looks like the Academy is listening and trying to make sure all categories get the spotlight. The awards that will be presented live include Actor in a Leading Role, Actor in a Supporting Role, Actress in a Leading Role, Actress in a Supporting Role, Animated Feature Film, Cinematography, Costume Design, Directing, Documentary (Feature), International Feature Film, Music (Original Song), Visual Effects, Writing (Adapted Screenplay), Writing (Original Screenplay), and Best Picture.
The decision comes as the Academy looks to revitalize the ceremony. Last year’s 93rd Academy Awards saw the lowest ratings in its history at just over 10 million viewers. This year will also see the return of hosts, with Amy Schumer, Wanda Sykes, and Regina Hall set to share the role. As audiences know, the Oscars have chosen to forego emcees since Kevin Hart stepped away from the role before the 2019 broadcast. Reportedly, the low ratings caused infighting with broadcasting partner ABC, as the network owns exclusive broadcasting rights through 2028.
A revised attempt at a previously controversial move is a bit of surprise due to the amount of criticism the Academy currently faces. The long-standing debate about the Oscars’ disconnect with the general public, as well as favoritism towards certain studios and artistic films, resurfaces every year. But the rise of superhero films has led to a particularly constant demand for Academy recognition, especially as the continuously record-breaking Spider-Man: No Way Home was nominated only for Best Visual Effects.
With 23 Academy Award categories to recognize this year, it remains to be seen how the organization will choose to cut and air certain segments, while still acknowledging the hard work put into the art from various branches of film. Time will tell if this move proves fruitful. This year’s 94th Oscars ceremony will take place on March 27 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.
We could see a one-time rule change to allow VOD-only movies to compete for Oscars this year.
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