The planning and broadcasting of the 2019 Oscars will go down in history as one of the most spectacular disasters in Academy history. Everything started going down hill when the idea of creating a "Popular Oscar" was suggesting, something which rapidly came to a halt after widespread outcry. Next was the problem with the presenter, when Kevin Hart reluctantly stepped down from the post amidst backlash for homophobic and transphobic tweets for which he refused to apologise. Then came the scandal about the decision to only include performances of two out of the five nominations for Best Song. The recent announcement made by John Bailey regarding the 91st edition of the Academy Awards truly was the last straw.
The Academy president announced on Monday that, as has been rumoured for quite some time, several categories in the Oscars will be presented during the advert breaks in order to reduce the total running time of the show, keeping it shorter than three hours. The categories which will not be televised are: Best Cinematography, Editing, Hair and Makeup, and Best Live Action Short.
In the email sent to the Academy members, Bailey explained that they were "still honouring the achievements of all 24 awards on the Oscars" and that additionally everyone's acceptance speeches would all be available on the Oscars' social media and official website. Another way in which the Academy will attempt to reduce running time is by cutting the winners' walk up to the stage as well as long lists of names from their speeches, although most of the speech will still be shown. In The Hollywood Reporter, those who have already seen demonstrations of this new set-up have reassured others that it provided "respectful acknowledgment" of the winners of each category.
According to Bailey, the way in which the entirely demoted awards were selected was with six of the seventeen branches of the Academy volunteering to have their awards in this new format. Four of those six were then selected to be presented during the ad breaks. The system which will apparently function on basis of rotation, so in 2020, the four which have currently been selected will have a guaranteed place on broadcasting. However, many people are seeing an ulterior (and far more believable) motive for this selection. Disney, who owns the AMC network on which the ceremony will be broadcasted, has films nominated in all of the categories bar a short list of only five. And (surprise, surprise) the four chosen categories are on said list:
ABC/Disney #Oscars nominations outside of the Top 8? Erik Anderson (@awards_watch) 12 de febrero de 2019
Visual Effects - 3
Production Design - 2
Costume Design - 2
Score - 2
Song - 2
Sound Mixing - 1
Sound Editing - 1
Animated Short - 1
Documentary Short - 0
Editing - 0
Cinematography - 0
Makeup - 0
Live Action Short - 0
These Categories are "Cinema Itself"
Unsurprisingly, there are some very unhappy people in Hollywood:
If I may: I would not presume to suggest what categories to cut during the Oscars show but - Cinematography and Editing are at the very heart of our craft. They are not inherited from a theatrical tradition or a literary tradition: they are cinema itself.? Guillermo del Toro (@RealGDT) 12 de febrero de 2019
For every young person who might watch the Oscars and dream of one day being an editor or cinematographer or make-up artist, I hope you enjoy all the musical numbers.? Jason Reitman (@JasonReitman) 12 de febrero de 2019
I think it is insane that the Oscars aren't broadcasting the Best Cinematography category this year. It's a visual medium! What a slap in the face for the people who give us images that stay with us forever. (I'm weirdly angry about this tonight.) pic.twitter.com/VYwr9nyukc? Justin Hamilton (@justinhamilton_) 12 de febrero de 2019
It's like removing the corn from popcorn. & live-action short so often gives the 1st national exposure to tomorrow's feature directors. Taylor Hackford, Martin McDonagh, Pierre Etaix, Chuck Workman, Claude Berri, Dean Parisot, David Frankel all won #Oscars 1st for shorts. https://t.co/W0YFaviVOb? Paul J. Coyne, A.C.E (@Paul_J_Coyne) 12 de febrero de 2019
These four categories will be cruelly under-appreciated in what should be, first and foremost, and awards show celebrating the art of the creation of film. The few minutes they will save cannot justify the disrespect being shown to these nominees; aspects of cinema like makeup and photography are fundamental parts of the art, and the nominees are just as worthy of recognition as the more glamorous and well-known faces of Rami Malek or Glenn Close. Does an extra hour really make that much of a difference? Those who are interested will watch the whole thing regardless, and those who are not wouldn't watch it even if it were only an hour long. Perhaps they should spend less time on the performances and segway jokes if they want to save time, this is an awards show after all.
The ceremony will take place on Sunday 24th February.