In a shocking, relatively last-minute reversal, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has walked back its almost universally reviled plan to present certain Oscars during the awards ceremony’s commercial breaks, with Academy President John Bailey and CEO Dawn Hudson now pledging to air all of the awards live during the show, as Variety reports.
The Academy had previously intended to reveal the winners in the best cinematography, best editing, best makeup and hairstyling, and best live-action short categories during ad breaks, condensing those announcements and acceptance speeches, and revealing them later on in the telecast—which takes place next Sunday, Feb. 24, by the way—all for the stated purpose of shortening the show. They would have then picked a different four-to-six categories with which to repeat the same process the following year.
It’s surprising to see such a significant decision made so close to the ceremony, but then again, it feels like the entire lead-up to the 91st Academy Awards has been a series of small shitshows building up to the big one. From the Academy’s laughable aborted introduction of a popular film category to the Kevin Hart debacle and the show’s resulting host-lessness, the arbiters of film’s most significant awards sure do seem at sea.
It took an industry-wide uprising, with a staggering assemblage of filmmakers, A-list actors and below-the-line professionals—many of whom are among the nominees at this year’s awards—speaking out in protest of the Academy’s decision to get them to see reason. Academy leaders had spoken up in defense of the change as recently as Wednesday.
Their having caved to Hollywood-wide pressure still doesn’t answer a recurring question surrounding this year’s Academy Awards: Do the people who put the Oscars together even like them?