The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has reversed its controversial decision to hand out four Oscars during the telecast’s commercial breaks.
Following a Thursday night meeting with top cinematographers, Academy leadership including president John Bailey and CEO Dawn Hudson have pledged to air every awards category on the live show a week from Sunday.
“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,” an Academy statement said.
The Academy stood firm for days against backlash from filmmakers across the four categories and their peers. The group is bewildered, one of the insiders said, as the Academy’s membership voted to approve this decision last August.
Open letters from A-list talent decrying the move as reductive and insulting — on top of heavy criticism and judgment from the unions representing those categories — proved too much to handle.
The Oscars will now run over three hours as a result, the source added, which upends a leading Academy goal of trimming the show to 180 minutes.
Fallout from the category decision is one of many headline-grabbing disasters to plague this year’s Oscars, following a prolonged and ugly process of hiring, firing, and then potentially rehiring comedian Kevin Hart as a host. The Academy also floated and then canceled plans to introduce a popular film category, and abandoned a move to prevent some best song nominees from performing during the telecast.