Sunday 20 October 2019

Oscars U-turn on presenting awards during ad breaks

The 91st Academy Awards will take place at the Dolby Theatre (Danny Moloshok/Invision/AP, File)
The 91st Academy Awards will take place at the Dolby Theatre (Danny Moloshok/Invision/AP, File)

Jake Coyle

The organisers of the Oscars have reversed their decision to present four awards during commercial breaks following an outcry from top movie industry figures.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences said all 24 categories will be shown live at the 91st Academy Awards on February 24.

On Monday, the academy said that the winning speeches for cinematography, film editing, make-up and hair-styling and live-action short would be aired in a shortened, taped segment during the broadcast.

"All Academy Awards will be presented without edits, in our traditional format," the organisation said in a statement.

Criticism of the move was made by many of this year's Oscar nominees, including Roma director Alfonso Cuaron and BlacKkKlansman filmmaker Spike Lee.

The American Society of Cinematographers issued an open letter, signed by Martin Scorsese, Brad Pitt and others, calling the academy's plans an insult to the cinematic arts.

"When the recognition of those responsible for the creation of outstanding cinema is being diminished by the very institution whose purpose it is to protect it, then we are no longer upholding the spirit of the academy's promise to celebrate film as a collaborative art form," the letter read.

The academy on Wednesday defended the decision and blamed "a chain of misinformation" on the backlash.

Following record-low ratings for last year's broadcast, the academy has made a swifter, three-hour programme a priority.

ABC, which airs the Oscars, is planning to premiere a sneak-peak of a new drama series after the Oscar show.

This is just the latest flip-flop by the academy in its attempts to tweak the Oscars.

The academy's headaches began after it last summer trotted out the induction of a "popular film Oscar".

The plan sparked such outrage that the new award was scuttled within a month.

Kevin Hart was announced as this year's Oscar host only to withdraw days later when many took issue with old homophobic tweets and the comedian initially "chose to pass on the apology".

The Oscars are now without a host for only the fifth time in their 91-year history.

After first planning to limit the best song nominee performances, the academy confirmed that all songs will indeed be performed.

PA Media

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