Last week, we reported that ABC was working to ensure that this year’s host-less Oscars ceremony would stick to a “brisk three hours,” since not everybody can stay up late on a Sunday night to watch whatever painful skits and shenanigans the Academy has planned in lieu of a host, and now we know one of the ways that the Oscars will be keeping its runtime down. As confirmed by Variety, four categories will be completely cut out of the live telecast, with the awards being handed out during commercial breaks instead and the speeches from the winners re-aired later on in the night.
The four categories in question are Best Cinematography, Best Film Editing, Best Live Action Short, and Best Makeup And Hairstyling, all of which happen to be the sort of categories that the Academy probably wouldn’t expect the dummies watching at home to really care about since they don’t involve famous people. Also, this isn’t just a one-time thing, as Academy president John Bailey has indicated that future Oscars telecasts might cut as many as six categories.
It’s not all bad for cinematographers or editors, though, because Bailey says these four categories will be exempt from exclusion in next year’s telecast. That concession feels a little silly, especially since it really makes it clear just how terrified the Academy is of offending anyone. The only way to make a system like this be truly fair is to make it random which categories are excluded. It might be controversial to hand out Best Actor during a commercial break, but then Bailey wouldn’t have to work so hard to appease the makeup artists and hairstylists.
The three-hour Academy Awards, which won’t have a host or a televised Best Cinematography category, will be held on February 24.