Oscars Will Air All Award Categories Live on TV, Reversing Course

Spike Lee, Alfonso Cuaron and more signed open letter criticizing decision to hand out some awards during commercial breaks

Last Updated: February 15, 2019 @ 4:14 PM

Following widespread backlash from across Hollywood, the film Academy has canceled plans to cut four key awards from the live Oscars telecast, and will now present all 24 of the major categories live without edits.

“The Academy has heard the feedback from its membership regarding the Oscar presentation of four awards – Cinematography, Film Editing, Live Action Short, and Makeup and Hairstyling. All Academy Awards will be presented without edits, in our traditional format. We look forward to Oscar Sunday, February 24,” the Academy said in a statement.

ABC, which is airing the ceremony, had no comment.

The Academy previously planned to present the four categories during commercial breaks as part of an effort to keep the notoriously long broadcast to three hours. The presentations would have been streamed live online, and the acceptance speeches inserted into the television broadcast  in “slightly edited” form later.

But the plan was met with immediate, and nearly universal outrage from within the entertainment industry. This included several of the major Hollywood guilds, powerhouse talent agency UTA, and a consortium of filmmakers that included Spike Lee, Quentin Tarantino and Ang Lee who condemned the move in an open letter Wednesday night.

Initially the Academy defended the decision and blamed “inaccurate reporting” and “misinformation” for the uproar. It added that the plan was approved by the Board of Governors in August, and that executive committees of six branches “volunteered” to have their awards presented during the breaks.

But on Friday, the day after a group of notable cinematographers had met with Academy CEO Dawn Hudson and President John Bailey, the Academy’s officers met to reconsider the wildly unpopular plan. The key factor, according to someone with knowledge of the discussion, was the number of rank-and-file Academy members that were opposed to the plan.

The full Board of Governors did not meet or vote, with the board’s officers — Bailey, Lois Burwell, Sid Ganis, Larry Karaszewski, Nancy Utley, Jim Gianopulos and David Rubin — making the decision to pull the plug.

The Oscars will air on ABC on Sunday, Feb. 24.

Steve Pond contributed to this report.