The 2022 Oscars will not present eight categories live, but will still be too long

A few weeks ago, Seth Rogen admitted the obvious, which is that the Oscars are really boring and he doesn’t understand why anyone would want to watch them. “Criticizing the Oscar telecast” is basically a national pastime at this point, and everyone (myself included) has ideas about how to revamp and fundamentally change the Oscars to make the show more watchable. My suggestions include: cutting the endless dumbf–k montages which take up too much time, and making a bigger commitment to really cut the show down to two-and-a-half hours or so. What absolutely no one suggested was keeping the already-bloated three-and-a-half hour show but cutting eight categories from being presented during the live telecast. They’re literally freeing up more time for montages and awkward presenter “bits.” You cannot make this up:

Several of the 23 categories which were presented live on the air during last year’s 93rd Oscars telecast will not be presented live on the air during the 94th Oscars telecast on March 27, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.

In a move that is already causing tension within the leadership of the Academy, but is likely to be well received by the general public, the presentations and acceptance of eight awards — documentary short, film editing, makeup/hairstyling, original score, production design, animated short, live action short and sound — will take place inside the Dolby Theatre an hour before the live telecast commences, will be recorded and will then be edited into the subsequent live broadcast, a variation of a controversial approach that the Academy first adopted and then abandoned in 2018. (The Tony Awards employ a similar model.) The Academy declined comment.

The move comes less than a year after the lowest-rated Oscars telecast ever provoked considerable consternation within the ranks of the Academy’s longtime broadcasting partner ABC, which owns the exclusive rights to air the ceremony through 2028, and the fees from which largely finance the operations of the Academy.

Most of the general public cares about only the six highest-profile Oscar categories — best picture, best director, best actor, best actress, best supporting actor and best supporting actress — if that. But the Academy has always felt pressure to present all of its competitive Oscars on the air in order to keep the peace within its own board of governors, which includes representatives of the Academy’s 17 branches, most of which have at least one award which honors people from the profession practiced by its members and wants them to be treated the same as actors, directors and producers.

[From THR]

As THR points out, there were big discussions to do something similar in 2018, but Academy members fought it. In years past, they also tried out the “giving the Oscar out within the seated audience” thing but that was chaotic. It sounds like the people winning the Oscars in these categories will still be able to be “seen” and they’ll be included on the show, but their acceptance speeches will be pre-taped. It also sounds like this is scheme to make the show shorter without actually making the show shorter!! Like, there are zero plans to actually STREAMLINE the show or make it more watchable.

Photos courtesy of Avalon Red.

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31 Responses to “The 2022 Oscars will not present eight categories live, but will still be too long”

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  1. BayTampaBay says:

    Has anyone ever watched the Oscar for anything but the opportunity to see the fabulous designer clothes??? I have not.

    • Harper says:

      I watch in the hopes of a shocking upset or someone falling up the stairs ala Jennifer Lawrence or a John Travolta Adele Dazeem moment or a Faye Dunaway LaLa Land debacle. I like live messy stuff.

    • Elizabeth Phillips says:

      Occasionally, but I usually tune out the time-wasting production numbers.

    • Anne says:

      All anyone cares about is the main acting awards and best picture. I think they did need to get rid of these categories and present them at a separate function. It’s why the golden globes was so much more fun to watch-all just acting awards and best picture for movies and television shows. Also I liked the informality of the actors sitting eating and drinking. Maybe GG will reform and come back. Oscars are bloated and not very interesting anymore (kind of like the Olympics!).

    • BeanieBean says:

      I used to look forward to Billy Crystal’s opening however many minutes. I always looked forward to the political statements at the mike–e.g., ‘Sacheen Littlefeather’ on behalf of Marlon Brando, or Richard Gere sending his happy thoughts to the Dali Lama or whatever it was. Cher was always a delight, but that’s bringing it back to the clothes. You can tell I haven’t watched in a while!

  2. Millennial says:

    I feel like no one talks about how late into evening that Oscars go for the East Coasters. I have to work the next morning, so I’m not going to stay up until midnight. All the “good” categories are after my bedtime. I understand wanting it to be live across the US, but they really cut into their audience by having it run so late.

    • LadyMTL says:

      Same here. Back when I used to watch the Oscars it was rare for me to even get to the best actor / actress categories, let alone all the way to the end to best Picture. Add to that the nearly three hours of boredom that would come before, and I was happy to go to bed and read about the winners the next day.

  3. Michael says:

    I doubt there is anything they can do to make me watch. I will look up the winners later. Maybe they should just scroll the winners and broadcast the afterparties

  4. Colby says:

    To me it’s not even the length of the show…The reality is that’s film, TV, and music have become more widely available with the onset of streaming, people have been able to pursue different and specific tastes, and good work is being done outside the old guard system. These awards no longer represent what’s happening in the world.

    • likethedirection says:

      Yes, this!!! The Oscars look increasingly out of touch with each passing year. Hell I work in the industry and my interest these days is more “how are they going to f*do it up this year?”

      I would add too that people simply have more options for streaming/watching/etc on the night itself, and many people don’t even have cable any longer — event TV is all but dead, save for some big sports games.

    • tealily says:

      Yeah, they’ve always gone for the most middle-of-the-road stuff, but now the middle-of-the-road stuff is even blander and I’ve seen fewer of the movies anyway!

  5. Lightpurple says:

    I make it a point to see as many films as I can in as many categories each year and every year, I am amazed at the quality of the films in the 3 shorts categories. They are usually my favorite films of the year, more thought-provoking, more clever, more entertaining, and far more diverse than the long-form categories. These films and their creators deserve their moments of attention.

  6. North of Boston says:

    There are things they could do to make it more watchable, but those things would likely mean less money for someone in the short term (ie fewer breaks, less commercial time for a start) to shore up the brand for the long term and pick a brand and stick with it. They are trying to be all haute fancy Oscars AND industry people’s choice/mtv awards AND elite AND a social media heatwave (with the audience polls) and everything turns into a muddle … I mean just look at who they have selected to host recently Ellen, the Franco debacle etc etc. What are the Oscars? What is their brand? How do the choices they make year after year after year support and promote that brand? Get that right and the clicks/eyeballs/etc will take care of themselves. You can tweak slightly to improve your aim, but this constant we’re this no we’re that no maybe if we try this just makes me think of that person in a social group who may be okay but who keeps twisting themselves into pretzels and changing their vibe so people will like them, and then becomes so needy and unpredictable that you just are done with them.

    Add to that decade after decade of racism, sexism and other bigotry and being a willing outlet for HW and other j******** and people are wondering what, exactly is their deal and what exactly they/we are celebrating on Oscar night.

    • Eurydice says:

      Yes, identify the brand. The next thing they could do (and this is also for the producers of the Olympics) is get together in a room at 8:00 pm, lock the door, and sit through a 4 1/2-hour telecast, including the commercials.

  7. Megan says:

    The truth is they need to nominate movies that people have seen. That’s the issue.

    • Mia4s says:

      Respectfully I have to disagree. Leaving out the “pandemic times”, the 2020 ceremony had Joker with multiple nominations and wins after grossing over $1 billion (along with solid hits like Little Women and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood), and it was the worst-rated telecast in their history.

      There seemed to be a bit of a bump in 2019, the year of Black Panther and Green Book, up about 3 million viewers from 2018, but that’s only a compliment if we ignore the fact that if we take out 2018? The year of Black Panther would have been the worst-rated telecast of all time! So a cultural and box office phenomenon only got them to what was then their second-smallest audience ever.

      The blockbusters just don’t help them in the way they want, not anymore.

      • Dutch says:

        It’s yes and no on the blockbusters. Up until rise of the summer movie season in the late 70s, all five Best Picture nominees were at least in the top 10 of the previous year’s box office more often than not. After Jaws and Star Wars changed the game, the divide between “popular” movie and “Oscar” movie has become wider and wider. There have been individual outliers here and there like the movies you mentioned but the days of the majority of nominees also having Top 10 box office are long gone.

        The rise of the internet and social media has really eroded the cache of the Oscars telecast in recent years. Movie stars used to be much more elusive, so seeing them in the “wild” was a big deal. Now you can follow them on Twitter or Insta, watch every talk show appearance they made in a dozen countries on YouTube and the series they starred in for a streamer. It’s just not as big of a deal to see Tom Hanks on your TV any more.

  8. A n B fn says:

    I watch for the fashion, also the male and female winners Oscar winners. I hope they have more entertainment, eg music, live musicians. I watched the super bowl and that 15 minute show was the best I’ve seen on tv. I’m thinking something like that would bring in the viewers to have a great time.

  9. Becks1 says:

    I watch for the “big” categories, of course, but I also enjoy the categories like Hair/makeup and actually with those segments were LONGER because the skill and talent and creativity that go into those elements is just insane.

    But in theory, I think this could work. The winners still get recognized, still get speeches, etc. It sounds like what is being cut out by doing it this way is the walk to the stage, the big entrance by the presenters, etc. I guess that might save them a few minutes overall?

    but saving those few minutes so they can include more montages is not going to be the saving grace they think it is. My issue with the Oscars isn’t that the show is too long (although it is), its that its too long and takes too long between awards. One opening montage/dance number, the In Memoriam, and then the best song nominees, and that should be IT. Do away with all the other little bits and extended monologues or jokes. Opening, awards, best song nominee, more awards, another nominee, more awards, In Memoriam, another song, more awards.

    Cut out the nonsense filler FIRST and then see what else needs to be cut.

  10. Kasalvy says:

    That they’re editing out the editing Oscar is what did it for me

    • likethedirection says:

      Such an insane move!!! While I suppose this is true of most of the technical categories, without editing there is no film, period. Just hours and hours of unshaped footage. And for Oscars nerds it’s well known that the Editing award is highly correlated with the Best Picture award — more often than not both awards go to the same film.

  11. Maddie says:

    Bad move. And so disrespectful to the nominees and winners in those categories.

    “Tell me you don’t gaf about me without saying you don’t gaf about me”, anyone?

    Between this and the twitter-Oscar for movies they didn’t deem worthy of a nomination, but want their fans to tune in, the Oscars have completely lost the plot.

  12. Jenna says:

    Unpopular opinion but I LIKE the montages.
    What I don’t care for is the dopey filler and patter from the hosts and presenters. I also think the dance numbers, comedy bits, etc tend to be corny and superfluous.
    It’s supposed to be an award show for films so the more they focus on particular films (especially the nominated ones) and/or aspects of film making (e.g. maybe a short that explains what the sound editor does and compares the nominees?) the better.
    It makes sense for the Tonys or the Grammys to have a ton of live performances – not the Oscars.

    • Jenna says:

      I just wanted to add:
      I’m simply describing my own personal preferences. I’m not suggesting the ceremony will increase it’s audience by adding little shorts on what the sound editor does. (lol)
      I’m not sure if it’s possible for the Oscars to get a big audience back without nominating blockbuster popular films and getting big movie stars to come to the ceremony. Hell, I’m not even sure there ARE any real movie stars left that could do that.

    • ab says:

      Ha! I didn’t see your comment before I posted mine, I just said the same thing. Great minds lol

    • Eurydice says:

      I like the technical awards. If you think about it, people like to know how things are done – so many cooking, gardening, home fix-it shows and videos. On TV, the CSI-type shows with how evidence is analyzed, and in movies about the unsung heroes who keep things moving behind the scenes. The actors are in our faces pretty much 24/7, but the technical people only get one moment a year.

  13. ab says:

    I don’t mind the montages, as the show is supposed to be a celebration of the best of film in any given year and I like seeing clips from performances and whatnot. I’d actually like to see a little more attention given on the main show to the behind-the-scenes categories that they are planning to sideline.

    Overall I think they should stop trying so hard — the cringey comedy bits, let’s order pizza and take selfies and the cheesy musical openings … it’s too much. It’s the Oscars, not the VMAs. Not everything has to cater to the yutes!

  14. Mia4s says:

    I say this as someone who was once such an Oscar-watcher I hosted the parties in my friend-group (Oscar pool, dressing up, a whole big thing): the people who are going to watch the Oscars are already watching the Oscars.

    This desperation to attract a different audience is only going to alienate the one they have. The younger generation can find anything they want to see from the show on Twitter, or YouTube, or whatever streaming ten seconds after it happens. They don’t care!! Not to mention the glow of the Oscars was long ago tarnished by not only rampant issues of Hollywood racism and sexism, but also by being the domain of a serial rapist for 20+ years (oh hey Harvey!) The world is different, the glory days of Oscar aren’t coming back. Get a streaming deal and be who you are. Who knows…maybe something new and better will arise.

  15. The Recluse says:

    I love movies, so I am there for all of the nominees. They should all get their public due. I am rooting for Lin Manuel Miranda winning an Oscar and movies wouldn’t be watchable without good editors.
    I am fine with cutting back the stupid jokes and just getting on with it, but I do love effective montages because I love film.
    I hope the Academy catches hell for this and changes their mind.