The Academy has tried — and mostly failed — in its attempts to cut down the runtime of the Oscars, but they did manage to find one way to shorten the lengthy ceremony: Get rid of the everyday folk.
In an interview with the New York Times, lead producer Donna Gigliotti said next Sunday’s show won’t feature non-famous people getting to bump elbows with Hollywood starlets, something Jimmy Kimmel had popularized during his two-year hosting stint.
“I love everyday people,” Gigliotti said. “I ride the subway with them every day in New York. Everyday people don’t get me ratings.”
During his two hosting stints, Kimmel did a number of vignettes that featured Hollywood celebrities mingling with just plain old people in Hollywood. Last year, this included bringing Gal Gadot, Mark Hamill and Margot Robbie to a screening of “A Wrinkle in Time” to hand out movie theater snacks. Two years ago, Kimmel rerouted a tour bus into the Dolby Theatre, in the middle of the show, so a bunch of tourists (including the famous “Gary From Chicago”) could meet their favorite celebrities.
But alas, we’ll have to settle for Serena Williams talking about Best Picture nominee “A Star Is Born,” part of Gigliotti’s plan to incorporate famous non-actors into the show. Each of the eight Best Picture nominees will get a brief presentation from celebrities “outside the world of entertainment.”
The Academy has spent the past year trying to figure out ways to shorten the runtime of the show, which has pushed four hours in recent years, at the request of its broadcast partner, ABC. Last year’s Oscars drew the ceremony’s smallest audience — 26.5 million viewers — and both ABC and The Academy have been looking for ways to boost viewership.
One of them was the short-lived “Popular” award that would honor summer blockbusters that are routinely shutout of major categories — though “Black Panther” became the first comic book film to get a Best Picture nomination. Following widespread backlash from across Hollywood, the Academy canceled plans last week to cut four key awards from the live Oscars telecast, and will now present all 24 of the major categories live without edits.
This year’s Oscars will also go host-less for the first time since 1989.
Read more in the NY Times here.