Academy president John Bailey confirmed Monday that the awards for cinematography, film editing, live action short film, and makeup and hairstyling won't be presented live at the 2019 Oscars, reports Variety. They'll instead be handed out during commercials, with these speeches airing later in the telecast.
In a letter to the Academy, Bailey said this change is necessary because "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."
But the announcement sparked widespread outrage, with pundits observing that part of what's great about the Oscars is that it honors fields that don't typically receive widespread recognition, such as film editing. "This decision is reprehensible," writer Chris Schleicher said. "Shame on the Academy. Shame on ABC."
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Critic Mark Harris, in an impassioned Twitter thread, called the decision "a failure of stewardship," writing that this isn't about ratings but about ABC "turning the show into an infomercial for commercial Hollywood product." He also argued that while some viewers may not care about these categories, "it's [the Academy's] job to help you care."
Given just how many decisions have been announced only to be abandoned during this awards season, it's always possible the Academy will change its mind on this. But there's not a lot of time left to do so: The Academy Awards air on Feb. 24.
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