Oscars So Short

​With this year’s ceremony now being host-less for the first time in 30 years, there seems to be a lot of focus on the whole routine of the Academy Awards and one of the biggest issues being addressed (and has recently been managed better than in years past) is the length of the ceremony. Particularly back in the 1990s and early 2000s, the Oscars began running on an average of FOUR HOURS. No wonder people starting tuning out in droves!

​The longest ceremony still remains to be the 2002 Oscars (which was the year A BEAUTIFUL MIND won Best Picture), which clocked in at 4 hours and 23 minutes….that is FAR too long! Recently, they have managed to cut off an hour or so to the running time, but it still isn’t exactly pleasant.

​For the upcoming ceremony, they announced months ago that they intended to present some of the awards during the commercial breaks to help cut back on time. The last time they tried something similar to this, it was a borderline disaster because it didn’t really do ANYTHING to help the time and it just looked foolish.

​I am referring to the 2005 Oscars (the year of MILLION DOLLAR BABY) when it was decided that for some of the Tech/smaller categories, they would either bring all the nominees onstage OR they would have the presenter stand in the audience and present the Oscar to the winner just inches from their seat and they’d give their speech to a planted microphone in the orchestra aisle.

​I get it. Not many people necessarily care about these awards, and most people never even get to find the winners of the Live Action/Animated Short film categories, but it just seemed overly degrading. Sure, they got a chance to give a speech but not letting them go to the stage was insulting. The main reason for this was to cut time from the ceremony, and while the ceremony was slightly more than an hour SHORTER than that record 2002 ceremony, the “experiment” really had nothing to do with it. If anything, it may be shaved off a few minutes at most and I feel like that is being overly generous in my estimation. 

​Another attempt they did, which was at the following year’s ceremony in 2006 (the year CRASH upset BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN), was trying to use the infamous acceptance speech play-off music to its full advantage by playing it THE MOMENT THE WINNER STARTED SPEAKING! While it wasn’t an insulting slap in the face to the smaller categories and also the fact that they did it for EVERYONE, it just seemed kind of odd and it didn’t exactly make annoying go faster with their speech (and the ceremony went on roughly 15 minutes longer….oops!).

​So, having awards given out during the commercial break isn’t unheard of. The Tony Awards began doing this when they stopped airing the presentation of the Technical Awards on PBS in the early 2000s and while it isn’t exactly fair, it does keep that ceremony somewhat at bay. 

​However, the Academy just claimed that they are only going to be performing TWO of the nominated FIVE Original Songs. The main reason for this: Time. First of all, I’ve never been overly invested in the original song performances and I wouldn’t even mind nixing them altogether. I get WHY they do them though, because they want some kind of excitement and any reason to bring in big name singers if they are the ones who originated the vocal performance.

​Only doing two of the five singles favoritism and an expectation of who is going to win. It is widely expected that Lady Gaga and her co-writers will win for their song Shallow from A STAR IS BORN, and not surprisingly, this song is one of the two chosen to perform. The other is BLACK PANTHER’s All theStars, which is performed by Kendrick Lamar and SZA. It isn’t like the other nominated songs have slouches performing them: The Places Where Lost Things Go from MARY POPPINS RETURNS is performed by Emily Blunt; I’ll Fight from RBG is performed by Jennifer Hudson…and while Tim Blake Nelson is more known as a character actor, his performance of the song When a Cowboy Trades His Spurs for Wings from THE BALLAD OF BUSTER SCRUGGS would be a nice addition to the proceedings as well. 

​Simply put, if you aren’t going to allow all five songs to perform, DON’T HAVE ANY OF THEM PERFORM! It’s not fair to the other nominees in the slightest. 

​I think they should consider starting the ceremony a half hour earlier and maybe air the Technical awards on E! or PBS or A&E and then acknowledge them again on the telecast at various points. There are ways to cut back on the ceremony and I feel like this particular way I suggested is more appropriate than trying to shove them off to the commercial breaks.

​It’ll be interesting to see if anything changes in the coming weeks…and oh yes, isn’t it telling that the Academy is going to postpone the Best Popular Film category conveniently when a certain superhero movie made it into the race after all? Hmmmm….

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