The 94th Academy Award show is right around the corner and bringing a lot of controversy with it. The announced hosts for this year’s event are actresses Regina Hall, Wanda Sykes, and Amy Schumer. The award show is slated for March 27 and broadcast live on ABC.
Due to its dwindling ratings, the Academy Awards recently announced its decision to cut back no less than eight of its 33 categories from the live broadcast. The awardees would be given their awards earlier and apparently edited in the live broadcast. This news unsurprisingly sparked outrage, particularly among industry professionals, leading to threats of boycotting and resignations.
To contain the situation, the Oscars producer, Will Packer, held a press conference recently talking about the reason for the move. Packer said there wasn’t any malicious intent behind the decision, and as always, the Academy was intent on respecting and appreciating actors who did well in their crafts. Here are all the details.
The Oscars Cut Down Eight Award Categories From Their Live Broadcast
The Oscars announced in late February its decision to cut back eight categories from being broadcast. These categories include Documentary Short, Film Editing, Makeup and Hairstyling, Animated Short, Production Design, Live Action, Sound, and Score.
The awards will instead be presented one hour before the broadcast at the Dolby Theatre. The award winners would still be recorded, but an editing team would handle fixing the awardees into the live broadcast.
ABC was apparently behind the Academy’s decision. Towards the start of March, it was revealed that after forcing their hand, the cutting back of eight categories was the compromise reached. This obviously sparked a lot of backlashes, especially within the industry. This included promises of boycotting the award show or just full-on resignation by industry professionals. Despite all this, the Academy is apparently not backing down.
Packer Said The Decision Wasn’t Made To Harm The Oscar Nominees
According to THR, The 94th award show producer, Packer, hosted a press conference talking about the entire situation and what prompted the decision. According to him, the decision didn’t mean that the nominees or the categories, in particular, were held in any low regard. He added that the people involved “value every last category, every last area.”
The film producer added that the entire ceremony was created to celebrate the nominees, and that wasn’t any different now. The decisions the Academy made were apparently settled on with good intentions. He said, “They’re our peers. These are the people that we work with and people that we love.”
“We want to make sure that everybody has their moment on this show, and I’d handled with the same reverence and elegance that you come to expect with the Oscars,” Packer continued. “And do one of the misconceptions is that things are being taken off the show, and that’s not the case. It’s not.”
Packer Said There Was ‘Intentionality’ Behind The Decision
In the press conference, which had Hall, Sykes, and several people involved in the award show, Packer added that the move has a lot of “intentionality” behind it. “We want everybody to be celebratory and have a great night,” the producer said.
Packer continued, “And I think that once everyone sees the war we’re putting the show together, they will see that there’s real intentionality behind the decisions that are being made. And that is to unite people for the love of cinema and celebrate these folks.”
The director of the Oscars, Glenn Weiss, who was part of the press conference, backed Packer up. He claimed that the intention was still to “respect and honor” people involved despite the different conclusions everyone was drawing. “We’re doing this to honor people and respect them. That’s what we’re doing here,” he said.
The Oscars Were Under Pressure To Bolster Ratings
The three-hour-long award show recently started having issues related to its screen time. Last year’s show was the least-watched in its history. It had around 9.23 million viewers who mainly tuned in to see “Nomadland” bag an award for the Best Picture category. This is a 51% drop from the number of viewers (18.69 million) who tuned in for last year’s show.
As a result, the award show was under a lot of pressure from its network home, ABC, to bolster its ratings. This led to overhauling the March 27 broadcast, which will likely have the opposite effect. A large percentage of the Oscars audience is industry professionals. This move only made them feel alienated because their categories were removed from the broadcast.
One such includes Guillermo del Toro, who urged people to speak against the decision while accepting a February Hollywood Critics Association Filmmaking Achievement Award. Oscar-winning re-recording mixer Tom Fleischman even went as far as resigning from the Academy. Several others are taking similar routes.
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