The Oscars Are Banking on the Fact That You Don’t Actually Care About Movies That Much

Eight categories will no longer be awarded live during the telecast

The Oscars Experience is seen at the Academy Museum Opening Press Conference at Academy Museum of Motion Pictures on September 21, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. Eight categories will be cut from this year's telecast.
The Oscars Experience is seen at the Academy Museum Opening Press Conference on Sept. 21, 2021
Rich Fury/Getty Images

Last year’s Oscars were the lowest-rated in history, and in an attempt to draw in more viewers, the Academy will reportedly no longer present eight categories live during its broadcast.

According to a memo obtained by The Hollywood Reporter, those categories — documentary short, film editing, makeup/hairstyling, original score, production design, animated short, live action short and sound — will be awarded inside the Dolby Theatre an hour before the live telecast begins. They’ll be recorded and then edited into the subsequent live broadcast, presumably so that producers have the ability to trim and condense winners’ acceptance speeches in the interest of saving time.

The memo claims that the change is being made “in order to provide more time and opportunity for audience entertainment and engagement through comedy, musical numbers, film clip packages and movie tributes.” Reaction on social media, however, was swift and unfavorable; it turns out the few people who do still watch the Oscars care about the actual nuts and bolts of filmmaking and want to make sure the people responsible for making their favorite movies great actually get their moment in the sun.

As many pointed out on Twitter, the decision to trim down acceptance speeches in certain categories to make more room for hokey comedy bits about pizza or selfies is not going to win back any viewers. All it will accomplish is alienating existing ones. The solution to getting more people to tune in to your movie awards show is not to hand out fewer movie awards.

Of course, there’s always the chance that if the backlash is loud enough, the Academy will walk back the decision. As the memo notes, “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.” 

The 94th Academy Awards are slated to take place on Sunday, March 27.

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