Oscars Move Cinematography and 3 Other Awards Into the Commercial Breaks

An email to members from Academy President John Bailey revealed the four categories that will be handed out off the air

Oscars statuettes
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The Academy has revealed to its members that the Best Cinematography, Best Film Editing, Best Live-Action Short Film and Best Makeup and Hairstyling categories at this year’s Academy Awards will be presented during commercial breaks.

The categories will be handed out during breaks in the show, and then “slightly edited” and inserted into the broadcast. The original presentations will be streamed live on Oscar.com and on Academy social channels.

The change was announced to Academy members in an email from AMPAS president John Bailey.

The move was approved by the Board of Governors in August last year, with the understanding that the affected categories would be rotated each year. (Another move approved by the board at that meeting, the introduction of a “Popular Oscar,” was later tabled for more study.) According to one person with knowledge of the discussions about this year’s categories, Bailey offered up his own category, cinematography, as one that would be taken off the telecast this year, although that move would have needed approval from his branch’s executive committee.

Bailey’s email states that the executive committees from six of the Academy’s 17 branches agreed to have their categories affected, with four of the six chosen for the this year’s Oscars. Those four branches, said Bailey, will be exempt from having their categories moved off the air next year, when an additional four to six categories may undergo the same fate.

“Viewing patterns for the Academy Awards are changing quickly in our current multi-media world, and our show must also evolve to successfully continue promoting motion pictures to a worldwide audience,” Bailey wrote in the email.

The favorite in the Best Cinematography category this year is “Roma” writer-director-editor-cinematographer Alfonso Cuaron, who has made Oscar history as the first person nominated as director and cinematographer for the same film. He could make additional history if he wins.

Both cinematography and film editing are considered key categories, with film editing being one of the main categories used to identify true Best Picture contenders.

The Academy did not address the logistics of handing out Oscars during the breaks, a time when stagehands are typically resetting the stage and the aisles are clogged with guests leaving and returning to their seats.

The plan to move some of the categories off the air has prompted a Twitter hashtag, #PresentAll24, urging the Academy to reconsider.

Here is the letter sent to members by Bailey:

Dear Fellow Academy Members,

After months of anticipation and much talk, I’d like to address a topic that’s close to me.

Viewing patterns for the Academy Awards are changing quickly in our current multi-media world, and our show must also evolve to successfully continue promoting motion pictures to a worldwide audience. This has been our core mission since we were established 91 years ago–and it is the same today.

As you may remember, last summer the Academy’s Board of Governors committed to airing a three-hour show. I want to reiterate however, that all 24 Academy Award-winning presentations will be included in the broadcast. We believe we have come up with a great way to do this, and keep the show to three hours.

While still honoring the achievements of all 24 awards on the Oscars, four categories — Cinematography, Film Editing, Live Action Short, and Makeup and Hairstyling – will be presented during commercial breaks, with their winning speeches aired later in the broadcast.

And, with the help of our partners at ABC, we also will stream these four award presentations online for our global fans to enjoy, live, along with our audience. Fans will be able to watch on Oscar.com and on the Academy’s social channels. The live stream is a first for our show, and will help further awareness and promotion of these award categories.

The executive committees of six branches generously opted-in to have their awards presented in this slightly edited timeframe for this year’s show, and we selected four. In future years, four to six different categories may be selected for rotation, in collaboration with the show producers. (This year’s categories will be exempted in 2020.)

The Academy Awards honors the year’s best films and filmmakers. It is an international show, filled with great emotion, and (we hope) stirring acceptance speeches. This year, in addition to performances of all five nominated songs, the show will feature Gustavo Dudamel and the Los Angeles Philharmonic playing during In Memoriam, as part of their own centennial celebration.

So, buckle up! We are committed to presenting a show which we all will be proud of.