Are Oscars Playing Catch-Up? No Other Televised Awards Show Presents Every Category Live Either

Here’s a rundown of how other awards shows handle below-the-line categories

Oscars statues Academy Awards
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The Academy Awards’ decision to hand out eight categories in the hour before the Oscar telecast begins, and then edit those presentations into the live show, has met with a storm of criticism — coming from Oscar watchers, Hollywood guilds that represent the categories in question and even Academy members.

But on Sunday, the Film Independent Spirit Awards did the same thing by handing out its editing, cinematography and international-feature awards during commercial breaks, and then slipping edited versions of the winners’ speeches into the final segment of the telecast on IFC. And maybe because the group didn’t talk about what it was doing ahead of time, there was no real criticism of the move, which the Spirit Awards had also done in the past.

(The only sign of dissatisfaction was when the audience booed as music started to drown out remarks from “Drive My Car” producer Teruhisa Yamamoto, winner of the international film award, who delivered his acceptance speech through a translator but apparently came too close to the end of the commercial break.)

In fact, virtually no other televised awards show that covers entertainment presents its below-the-line categories on the live broadcast. You could say that means the Academy Awards are simply going with the flow and doing what everybody else does – or you could argue that one of the things that made the Oscars special is that the Academy alone gave full exposure to all 23 categories, and that this year’s decision robs the show of one of the things that distinguished it.

I would argue the latter, but you can’t say there’s no precedent for the move. Here’s the rundown of other shows:

Grammy Awards
The show has more than 80 categories, but its televised ceremony is more of a performance show than an awards show. The vast majority of its awards, including all the engineering categories, are handed out in a separate ceremony prior to the televised event. That ceremony takes place in a different building, and only some of its results are announced on the main telecast, which presents about 10 awards live.

Emmy Awards
The Emmys, with more than 110 categories, presents a little more than two dozen of its categories – all acting, directing, writing and program categories – on its live Primetime Emmys telecast. All other categories are presented in separate Creative Arts Emmy ceremonies, which take place a week or two before the primetime show (last year, they were spread out over three ceremonies the night before and the afternoon of the major ceremony). Results from those shows are not typically part of the main telecast.

Tony Awards
The Tonys also has its own Creative Arts ceremony, which presents the awards in about 10 of its 26 categories. Those results are mentioned on the main show.

The 2021 show, though, was different: It consisted of a ceremony that streamed only on Paramount+ and presented all but three categories, followed by a network broadcast, “Broadway’s Back,” that focused on live performances and presented awards in three top categories: Best Play, Best Revival of a Play and Best Musical.

EE British Academy Film Awards
The British Academy of Film and Television Arts broadcasts its show on the BBC, but the live broadcast begins an hour after the show itself has begun. That allows the network to edit the show as it’s going on, taking out some craft categories and mentioning them in the end credits.

Critics Choice Awards
For years, the CCA has been informing the winners in quite a few categories of their victories prior to the live telecast. Winners in these categories, which include all the craft categories plus some writing categories, are then mentioned in bumpers as the live show goes to commercial. No acceptance speeches are filmed or shown.

Golden Globes
The Hollywood Foreign Press Association doesn’t need to worry about what to do with below-the-line categories, because they don’t have any.

Producers Guild Awards, Directors Guild Awards, Writers Guild Awards, Screen Actors Guild Awards
These major guild ceremonies don’t have below-the-line categories, unless you count the SAG Awards’ stunt categories. And those are presented on the red carpet during the preshow.

ACE-Eddie Awards, American Cinematographers Guild Awards, Art Directors Guild’s Excellence in Production Design Awards, Cinema Audio Society Awards, Costume Designers Guild Awards, Make-Up Artists and Hair Stylists Guild Awards, Motion Picture Sound Editors’ Golden Reel Awards, Visual Effects Society Awards
These awards shows, put on by Hollywood guilds and professional organizations, are devoted entirely to below-the-line crafts. None of them are televised.