The Academy to Present All 24 Oscar Categories Live
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced Friday that it has reversed its plan to present four Oscars during commercial break.
The plan was to present four to six different categories during commercial every year. The Academy was initially preparing to cut the awards for Film Editing, Makeup and Hairstyling, Cinematography, and Live Action Short from the live telecast and air edited acceptance speeches. This was an attempt to shorten the show and increase ratings.
Current Oscar nominees Spike Lee and Alfonso Cuarón put pressure on the Academy for its decision to present the awards during commercial, as well as Roger Deakins, Quentin Tarantino, Ang Lee, Martin Scorsese, and Emmanuel Lubezki, who signed and sent an open letter to Academy president John Bailey asking him to reverse the decision. The pushback that cutting the categories from the live telecast was receiving was ultimately not worth the prospects of cutting 45 minutes from the show and getting the show down to three hours, according to Deadline.
The desire to cut the categories also came as an attempt to maintain a global audience. “Viewing patterns for the Academy Awards are changing quickly in our current multi-media world,” Bailey said in a letter emailed to Academy members, “and our show must also evolve to successfully continue promoting motion pictures to a worldwide audience.”
The Academy is headquartered in Beverly Hills, California, making the Oscars an American awards show, but it has been broadcasted internationally since 1969. Over 225 countries had access to the show in 2016. Yet, it is hard to measure the show’s global influence. In many countries, TV ratings are not disclosed. It can be estimated that the show draws a much smaller audience outside of the United States because many countries have their own big film awards, and in many big markets, the show airs on satellite or cable channels with a limited number of subscribers, or in the middle of the night when people are asleep.
When The Hollywood Reporter asked for the viewing figures for the 2015 Oscar telecast, it found data for over 27 million international viewers. Canada had the biggest audience outside of the United States, with 5.5 million people watching. India was the show’s largest market in Asia, with 4.5 million viewers, and the United Kingdom was the largest European market, with 1.08 million tuning in. That said, the decision to include the previously shafted four categories into the live broadcast still affects far more than just American viewers.