At Monday’s traditional Oscar Nominee luncheon, word spread that this year’s ceremony is set to be a mere 3 hours long, as opposed to the near 4-hour length from 2018.
This choice has been met with derision from film purists, casual fans and just about anyone with a brain.
Sure, a long Oscar ceremony indulges all the worst things about the industry such as self-serious montages about THE MAGIC OF MOVIES, the year’s host inserting themselves into all the big movies of the year, in memorial montages, bad comedy bits, but in essence, isn’t that really the beauty of the Oscars?
To use a sports metaphor, imagine if the Champions League final this year had a new rule that said there would be no extra-time or penalties.
Half the fun of watching the Oscars is admiring how self-indulgent it is, and why not? It’s literally the Oscars. Let them ham it up and cheese it up as much as they want.
Spectacle aside though, the Academy and ABC have lost their minds recently.
The “achievement in popular film” category was as well-received as Just Eat announcing that they will no longer deliver unhealthy food, and now ABC’s plans to give out the technical below-the-line categories during ad breaks is the final insult to any film fan.
Mad Max: Fury Road won 6 Oscars at the 2016 ceremony, and while it lost the major categories like Best Picture and Best Director, it swept the technical awards.
Compare last year’s totally unnecessary “bit” where the ceremony came to a screeching halt to promote A Wrinkle In Time (yes, that movie came out last year) with them insulting the people’s moment of glory hiding behind a McDonald’s ad, and it’s clear the Academy just want views.
And that’s fine.
Television is a fickle business after all and going from 44 to 26.5 million viewers in 5 years is a sign of trouble, but don’t cave in to corporate nonsense – indulge the film nerds around the world, just for one night, and let art speak for itself.
This year’s “populist” nominations for Best Picture like Bohemian Rhapsody and Black Panther are seen as an olive branch of sorts to get the masses to tune in (indeed, it is known that The Dark Knight getting snubbed for Best Picture in 2009 directly lead to the Oscar upping the potential Best Picture nominee list to 10 nominees) but trying to fit in all of cinema’s best and brightest into something under three hours is just lunacy.
The Oscar ceremony in 1999 where Harvey Weinstein bullied his way into a Best Picture statue ran for over 4 hours, but we got this magic moment out of it.
Imagine not being able to see this moment of glory live because it was hiding behind an ad for car insurance.
To bring it back to sports, many people last year may remember some matches clashing with Love Island because they ran into extra time.
For that reason, channels state that other shows might be running late and are subject to change, to expect an awards show like the Oscars to play by the television rule book in this era of streaming is insanity.
Give it to Netflix, where the ceremonies will be 7 hours long, and each category is presented by the boys from Queer Eye!