The Oscars Have Just Traded Off Eight Of Their Awards

Eight of this year's Oscars will be given out while the live audience isn't watching, in an attempt to woo back viewers.

Oscar nominations 2023 statues

With the Oscars live show coming up at the end of March, the Academy Of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences – AMPAS, to its friends – has continued to try and arrest the ratings decline for the ceremony itself.

Oscar trophies

There seems to be a fair amount of knee-jerking over the dramatic tumble in viewing figures for last year’s show, but then it was a bit of a cobbled together event in the midst of a pandemic. A bit of Zoom, nominees in different places all over the world and a low profile collection of films led to many opting not to watch Nomadland prevail. AMPAS is taking no chance as it tries to re-interest people in its show.

Firstly, it’s bringing back hosts for the first time since Jimmy Fallon presented the ceremony back in 2019. Amy Schumer, Wanda Sykes and Regina Hall have been hired and will present this year’s show.

Now we learn that AMPAS is keen to streamline the show itself. The telecast regularly runs for over three hours, and many producers have come and gone as they’ve wrestled with that. Now, a simpler answer has been attached, resurrecting an old suggestion to present some awards out of the live broadcast.

We thus learn that eight gongs will be given outside of the live telecast, and they’ll be edited into the television presentation in a shorter form instead. The eight categories are documentary short, film editing, makeup/hairstyling, original score, production design, animated short, live action short and sound.

In days of old, the editing prize used to be a precursor to what was likely to win Best Picture (although that link has dissipated over time). Now, it doesn’t even deserve to be given out in front of the live television audience. Astonishing really.

It does beg the question of just what the Academy Awards are for, but the answer is clear as day: they’re a business, and a business that’s been faltering. The answer in the eyes of AMPAS is to slice the prizes that don’t make headlines into a reduced bit of running time. Those, though, might just be the moments that are the most memorable, and the Oscar show used to do perfectly fine with them included.

Still, at least there’s room for that Twitter prize to be given out…

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