NEW YORK (AP) – To combat falling ratings, the Oscars are falling sharply: eight awards will be presented off-air during a telecast next month.
In a letter Tuesday to members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, group president David Rubin said the awards for film editing, production design, sound, makeup and hairstyle, music (original score) and three short films at the ceremony before a live broadcast on ABC will be awarded film prizes for documentary, live and short animated film.
Now, instead of starting the ceremony and broadcasting everything at once, the Dolby Theater ceremony will begin an hour before the telecast. The presentation and speeches of these eight first winners will be edited and shown during a three-hour live broadcast, which, Rubin stressed, will still give each winner his “Oscar moment”.
Rubin said the changes are necessary for the future health of the Academy Award.
“When deciding how to host an Oscar, we understand that this is a live TV show, and we need to prioritize TV audiences to increase viewer engagement and keep the show vital, kinetic and relevant,” Rubin wrote. . “This has been an important topic of discussion for quite some time. We do this while also remembering the importance of our candidates enjoying that once in a lifetime.
The possibility of nominating some of the 23 categories of the Oscars from the broadcast has long been controversial. In 2019, the academy initially sought to broadcast four categories – cameraman, editing, makeup and hairstyles, as well as short live action – in an abbreviated, tape-recorded segment. But after the reaction came, the academy canceled itself nine days before the show.
But ratings continued to fall. Last year’s broadcast, heavily modified by the COVID-19 protocols, fell to an all-time low of 9.85 million viewers. The pressure has intensified not only with Oscar’s longtime partner, ABC, but also at the academy. This year, after several Oscars without presenters, the producers are turning to the trio of Amy Schumer, Regina Hall and Wanda Sykes as presenters.